WM Phoenix Open: Scottie Scheffler defends title, retakes No. 1 ranking with 2-shot win

Scottie Scheffler at the WM Phoenix Open
Scottie Scheffler ran away with the WM Phoenix Open for a second straight year. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Back where it all started, Scottie Scheffler is once again the top golfer in the world.

Scheffler, after a tight battle early with Nick Taylor, surged ahead late Sunday at TPC Scottsdale to claim a two-shot win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The victory not only marks his second straight at the event but also moves him past Rory McIlroy for No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

"I'm just proud of how I fought today," Scheffler said on CBS. "I didn't have my best stuff. I grinded it out today. I wasn't hitting it well off the tee, irons didn't feel as sharp, but I played a great round of golf today."

Scheffler entered Sunday with a 2-shot lead after posting a 3-under 68 on Saturday. Taylor and Jon Rahm, who also had a path to retake No. 1 in the OWGR, were at 11-under on the week after 54 holes.

Scheffler opened Sunday with two birdies in his first three holes and then took a 1-shot lead into the back nine after a clutch birdie on the ninth. While Rahm stumbled back, Taylor started pushing Scheffler. Taylor made five birdies in his first 10 holes of the day and had tied things up when the two had reached the par-5 13th. Scheffler then landed his second shot about 22 feet from the cup and expertly drilled an eagle putt to retake the solo lead with just five holes to go.

After a pair of pars, Scheffler missed the green at the iconic par-3 16th and landed well off the back in the rough. Thankfully for Scheffler, both Taylor and Rahm missed the green long, too.

Scheffler saved his par with an impressive up-and-down, which sent the crowd in the stadium into a frenzy. Taylor’s par putt was wide right, too, which pushed Scheffler to a 2-shot lead with two holes to go.

"That was a big putt," Scheffler said on CBS. "I'm really grateful. That one almost looked like it was going to be short for a while. That putt was really fast, just kind of kept on going ... It was definitely a lot of fun to see that go in."

Scheffler backed that save up with a birdie on the 17th and then cruised through the final hole to take the two-shot win.

Taylor finished alone in second at 17-under on the week after going 6-under on the day with a birdie at the last. Rahm was three shots back of Taylor at 14-under. Justin Thomas jumped up to fourth after his best round of the week. He carded a 6-under 65 to move up 12 spots on the leaderboard, one ahead of Jason Day.

Scheffler got his first career win in Arizona last year, and it ended up sparking a breakout year on Tour. He won four times last season, including at the Masters, and had 11 top-10 finishes. Scheffler finished second at the U.S. Open and the Tour Championship, too.

Scheffler held the No. 1 spot in the OWGR until the CJ Cup in South Carolina earlier this season but has been just a spot behind McIlroy ever since. Now, with one event left on the Tour’s "West Coast Swing” and about two months until the Masters, Scheffler is back on top of the sport.