Oh Canada! Nick Taylor shows off smooth short game to win playoff of WM Phoenix Open

In a playoff against seasoned golf veteran Charley Hoffman, Nick Taylor shows off the goods to win the second playoff 18th at the WM Phoenix Open with a masterful birdie.

WM Phoenix Open - Final Round
WM Phoenix Open - Final Round / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

With a bogey-free Sunday, Canada’s Nick Taylor’s putter was on fire.

Four-time PGA winner Charley Hoffman had sprinted ahead of the pack on Sunday, after weather had wreaked havoc at the TPC Scottsdale all weekend long. Those in the lead were still finishing their third round as the day started after play had been cut short on Saturday.

The interrupted play didn’t bother Taylor, though, who made the most of the back nine to hit birdies that boosted him just behind Hoffman by the time he got to the 17th hole. Birdies on holes 15 and 16 gave him a solid second place position, with just two holes left that he needed to birdie in order to win outright.

Nick Taylor wins the Waste Management Phoenix Open

“It was a marathon day,” Taylor said about the conditions, according to golf.com. “We signed our scorecard after the third round, and I had eight minutes to go to the tee. I don’t know if that riled me a little bit, but it was just a long day. Again, to find my swing a bit the last nine or ten holes and make some birdies was incredible.”

Taylor came close on the 17th, but a par-four putt meant that it was up to the very last hole if he was going to have a chance. And just like he did at the Canadian Open—where he became the first from his country in decades to win the tournament—he steeled his nerves with a deft touch that sent the ball circling the edge of the fall, just falling in the end to seal the playoff. Hoffman and Taylor took at 12-under and were sent back to the 18th.

Hoffman and Taylor matched each other’s play on the first playoff hole, landing their strokes within mere feet of each other, with both golfers making birdies.

It was back to the drawing board as they played the 18th again. Hoffman drove his ball into the bunker, while Taylor sailed past it, only to land in the rough. Both players, however, managed to overcome their shortcomings on the second stroke, getting their balls onto the green, again within measurable distance apart. Hoffman had the longer reach, missing by just a hair.

It was left to the Canadian to see if he would repeat his clutch putt that gave him the Canadian title last summer. With his Midas touch, Taylor demonstrated his beautiful short game, firing off a putt that landed the birdie win for the title.

“My wedge game is a strength of my game,” he said. “It turned out there. Last year, I did the same thing, and it didn’t turn out. I was confident in the decision. I just knew that with how receptive the greens were, the wedge shot with the backboard there was very doable, and I thought that was my best percentage play.”

For Hoffman, the near win will continue to motivate the 47-year-old. One of the oldest players on the tour, he was granted a top-50-career-money exemption to play this season.

“I played my butt off. I gave myself a chance,” Hoffman said. “I knew if I got to that 22 number it would be hard for him to catch me, and left a putt short in regulation. But I love the juices. I love competing. This builds a little fire in the belly. I definitely want to be back here.”

Considering that he came so close to achieving his fifth PGA Tour win on Sunday, Hoffman continues to impress on the Tour.

The next tournament on the PGA schedule is the Genesis Invitational, taking place starting February 15 in Pacific Palisades, CA.

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