Scottie Scheffler shot a 3-under-par 68 Saturday for a two-shot lead after 54 holes on a long day at the WM Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Scheffler sits at 13 under, two shots ahead of Canadian Nick Taylor (third-round 67) and Jon Rahm (68) of Spain.
Roughly half of the field had to complete their second round Saturday morning after play was suspended due to darkness Friday evening at TPC Scottsdale.
Jordan Spieth (69) and Canadian Adam Hadwin (71) are tied for fourth at 10 under while five players are four shots back in a tie for sixth.
Scheffler kicked off his third round with two birdies in the first four holes, sandwiching a bogey between two more birdies on Nos. 14 and 17. In his first title defense, Scheffler is bidding to become the seventh player to successfully defend his Phoenix Open title and first since Hideki Matsuyama in 2017.
“I haven’t been thinking about it too much,” Scheffler said of the title defense. “I’m in position now. Something I talked about at the beginning of the week was I felt like I’ve been on the outside looking in on Sundays. To be in the final group with a two-shot lead, I believe, is definitely a position I want to be in. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Chasing him is World No. 3 Rahm, who’s trying to secure his third win of the season. Rahm opened with a bogey on the first hole but played clean golf the rest of the way, adding four birdies.
“To be even par through 11 was challenging. I had to dig deep to make a few putts and keep the round going,” Rahm said. “The few birdie putts that I had I didn’t really take advantage of. I had plenty of them. In that stretch of 2, 3 and 4 I wish I would have gotten a couple more than I did.”
Taylor has never cracked the top-40 in eight previous Phoenix Open starts but now he’s shooting for win No. 3 on tour.
“I’m just going to have to do my own thing tomorrow,” Taylor said. “Easier said than done. But if I keep playing like I have been playing I think I’ll have a decent chance coming down the stretch. But I can’t really pay attention to what they’re doing. If I get wrapped up in that it’s probably when I would struggle a little bit. I’ve been in a position where I’ve been an underdog, so I just got to keep my head down and keep playing.”
Spieth birdied three of his last six holes to move into contention. A top-10 finish would mark his 80th on tour.
–Field Level Media