Nick Taylor triumphs at the Phoenix Open after making a birdie on the 2nd hole of a playoff against Charley Hoffman.

Nick Taylor triumphs at the Phoenix Open after making a birdie on the 2nd hole of a playoff against Charley Hoffman.

Written by John Marshall, a journalist for the Associated Press.

Nick Taylor experienced a heartfelt win at the Canadian Open last year, which included a memorable tackle.

The 35-year-old Canadian created new memories at the Phoenix Open by mounting a large comeback to defeat Charley Hoffman.

Taylor came back from a three-point deficit with only four holes remaining in the regular round and successfully sunk a 11-foot birdie putt in the second playoff hole to defeat Hoffman on Sunday, concluding yet another exciting week at the Phoenix Open.

Taylor described the end as surreal and enjoyed making all those putts. The energy and vibe throughout the entire week was amazing.

Towards the end of his round, Taylor was able to take advantage of favorable scoring conditions after struggling for most of the afternoon. He finally found his groove at the perfect moment, ending with a 6-under 65 and sinking a 9-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th to tie for the lead and force a playoff. Both he and his 47-year-old competitor, Hoffman, finished with an impressive score of 21-under 263.

Both golfers scored a birdie on the additional hole and landed their balls on the 18th green once again – Taylor from the rough on the right, and Hoffman from the bunker on the left fairway. Unfortunately, Hoffman’s putt fell short, while Taylor achieved a birdie for the third time in under an hour as the sun set below the horizon.

“I did not make any mistakes, so I have to acknowledge Nick’s skills,” stated Hoffman, who has not secured a victory on the tour since 2016 and has faced back problems in recent times. “He scored birdies on four out of the last five holes he played. I applaud him for that.”

On Saturday, Taylor secured his fourth PGA Tour championship after a tumultuous week of weather disruptions and the unusual choice to shut the gates and cease alcohol sales due to escalating chaos.

Hoffman made the most of the first enjoyable day of the week in the desert by shooting a 64 on TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium course in the morning. This helped him catch up and be in the running, as his third round was delayed due to weather conditions.

Hoffman scored 4 strokes below par in a span of three holes on the back nine and maintained a lead of three shots after completing a second consecutive round of 64.

Taylor refused to allow him to take the trophy at that moment.

At the 2023 Canadian Open, he had a compelling ending as he sank a 72-foot putt for eagle on the fourth playoff hole. This victory made him the first Canadian in nearly seven decades to win the national open.

The victory became even more unforgettable when a security guard tackled Adam Hadwin, a friend and fellow Canadian player of Taylor, as he excitedly made his way to the green in celebration.

Hadwin was able to congratulate Taylor once again in the desert, but this time he was able to remain standing.

Taylor stated that he wore the same clothing, but was fortunate to not be tackled by a security guard.

Taylor put himself with a course record-matching 60 in the opening round, his five-shot lead matching the largest after 18 holes on the PGA Tour since 1983.

In the morning, Taylor completed the third round with a score of 68. However, his performance slowed down after scoring a birdie on hole No. 9. He regained momentum with back-to-back birdies on holes No. 15 and 16, and ended strong with three more birdies on the final hole, narrowly missing another one on hole No. 17.

Taylor, who came in second place to Scottie Scheffler in the previous year’s event, expressed that the 18th tee shot has posed a challenge for them in the past. They were amazed to have successfully birdied it three times after hitting three solid shots.

Scheffler, who has won the championship twice in a row, made an impressive comeback by scoring five consecutive birdies in his third round. He shot a 66 in the morning, despite making a bogey on No. 18 due to putting off the green and into a bunker.

The top-ranked player briefly had the advantage at the beginning of the last round, but his putting skills faltered, ultimately preventing him from achieving the PGA Tour’s first three-peat in 13 years. Scheffler came close to scoring a hole-in-one on the par-3 stadium 16th, but was too far behind to catch up to Hoffman. He scored a 66, tying with Sam Burns for third place at 18 under.

“I’m feeling a bit frustrated,” Scheffler expressed. “I didn’t quite end the way I had hoped, but I did give myself a promising opportunity this week.”

Taylor also completed it.


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