Taylor equals course record with stellar 60 at WM Phoenix Open
Last year, Nick Taylor finished second at the WM Phoenix Open. This year, he’s off to a hot start that may lead to him finishing one spot better.
After waiting out a weather delay on Thursday, Taylor made 11 birdies to post a round of 60 on Friday, equalling the course record at TPC Scottsdale. It was the lowest round of the Canadian’s career and gave him a five-shot lead at the time of his finish.
“I drove it great, ball in hand, and was hitting my irons nice,” Taylor said. “I essentially made every putt I looked at. It was a day that you don't want it to end. Luckily I'm going to play another round here, so hopefully I can keep that going. But everything has worked really well.”
Taylor rode a hot putter in his blistering round, using just 23 putts on the day. He holed 184 feet of putts, including 133 feet for birdies. The longest was a 32-footer on the 12th hole (his third of the day) and there were two more over 20 feet. He added a 30-foot par putt on his 16th hole, the par-3 seventh, getting up and down from a greenside bunker.
“I don't know what to say,” stated Taylor. “I've probably never putted that well.”
He missed just one fairway and only two greens in regulation. Due to the soggy conditions, the field was playing lift, clean and place, giving those who found the fairway a distinct advantage.
Despite making a slew of birdies, the native of Abbotsford, B.C., who resides in the Phoenix area in the winter months, didn’t really let the chance for a magical round of 59 enter his head.
“I just want to keep making as many birdies as I can,” he said. “After a missed opportunity, probably on 6 and sneaking away with par on 7, it was kind of done there. I wanted to keep the round going and finish it off.”
Last year at this event, Taylor battled eventual winner Scottie Scheffler down the stretch, eventually settling for a runner-up finish. Prior to that he missed the cut in four of his previous six starts here. Despite that poor stretch, he’d always felt the course set up well for his game. That held true when he signed for the 60.
On Friday, he was buoyed by a boisterous contingent of backers, many who were visiting from north of the border.
“It was awesome,” said Taylor, who wore a hoodie all day to stay warm in the unusually cool Phoenix weather. “A lot of Canadians come down here, as well. Crowd support has been amazing. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
So far this year, Taylor has had a wide mix of finishes. He has a tie for seventh at the SONY Open and a missed cut at the American Express along with two other mid-range finishes.
Taylor didn’t have much time to celebrate his remarkable round. After Thursday’s lengthy delay, he was back out on the course roughly half an hour after finishing his first round.