LOS ANGELES — Canada’s Nick Taylor won his fourth career PGA Tour title, making three consecutive birdies at the 18th hole to defeat American Charley Hoffman in a playoff thriller and capture the Phoenix golf Open.
“I tried to draw on last year. I didn’t have it early on. I made some ridiculous par saves,” the 35-year-old Canadian said according to AFP.
“That 18th tee shot has given me trouble in the past. To hit three pretty good ones and birdie it three times is amazing.”
Taylor birdied three of the last four holes in regulation to fire a bogey-free six-under par 65 and match Hoffman on 21-under 263 after 72 holes at Scottsdale, in Arizona.
After his birdie from just inside 10 feet at the 18th forced the playoff, Taylor sank a birdie from just inside 15 feet on the first playoff hole and, after Hoffman extended the playoff with a birdie from just beyond seven feet, sank a birdie putt from just inside 12 feet at 18 for the victory.
“I drew on that last putt from last year. I had that putt when I finished second,” Taylor said. “I was seeing the lines great all week so it was amazing that went in too.”
Taylor won last year’s PGA Canadian Open, the first Canadian since 1954 to win the event, and also took the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship and 2020 Pebble Beach.
His tension-packed finish closed out a marathon day when he had to play 30 regulation holes due to earlier weather disruptions.
“It was a marathon day,” Taylor said. “We signed our scorecard after the third round and had eight minutes to go to the tee. I don’t know if that rattled me a little bit but it was just a long day.
“So to find my swing and make some birdies the last nine or 10 holes was incredible.”
Hoffman, who nearly had his first PGA victory since 2016, settled for his first top-10 finish in two years after a closing 64.
“I had some nice putts go in down the stretch,” Hoffman said. “Unfortunately left the door open and Nick came in and seized the moment and birdied the 18th hole three times in a row.”
Taylor birdied three of the last four holes on the front and back nines, his closing clutch birdie putts including a three-footer at the par-5 15th and another from just inside six feet at the par-3 16th.
After trading intense birdies on the first playoff hole, Hoffman found a left fairway bunker and Taylor was in the right rough on the second extra hole. Taylor landed his approach just inside 12 feet while Hoffman made par from 28 feet only for Taylor to end matters.
Top-ranked defending champion Scottie Scheffler failed in his bid to match legend Arnold Palmer as the only players to win the Phoenix Open three consecutive times.
Taylor shot a course-record 60 in the opening round, his five-shot lead matching the largest after 18 holes on the PGA Tour since 1983.
Taylor finished with a third-round 68 in the morning, but stalled after a birdie on No. 9.
He came alive with back-to-back birdies starting on No. 15 and finished with a three-birdie triumph that ended the day on the 18th after miss a bird putt on No. 17.