By JOHN NICHOLSON
AP Sports Writer
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler held onto the lead Saturday at the WM Phoenix Open in a bid to successfully defend his title and regain the No. 1 spot in the world.
The second-ranked Scheffler shot a 3-under 68 in front of some 200,000 fans at TPC Scottsdale to get to 13 under, two strokes ahead of third-ranked Jon Rahm and Nick Taylor.
Rahm also had a 68, holing a curling 40-footer for birdie on the stadium 16th for his third birdie in four holes. Taylor shot 67.
Scheffler would take the No. 1 spot from Rory McIlroy — tied for 28th at 3 under after a 70 — with a victory, as long as McIlroy finishes worse than solo third. Scheffler also could get to No. 1 by finishing solo second if McIlroy is 36th or worse and Rahm doesn’t win.
Rahm, the former Arizona State star from Spain, would go to No. 1 with a victory if McIlroy finishes worse than a three-way tie for second, or by finishing solo second if McIlroy finishes worse than solo 47th and Scheffler doesn’t win.
Jordan Spieth and Adam Hadwin were 10 under.
Speith had the best score in the delayed second round, finishing off a 63 in the morning. He added a 69 in the third round, highlighted by a 77-yard bunker shot to 3 feet to set up a birdie on the par-4 17th.
Hadwin had a 71, playing in the final group with Scheffler and Rahm. He hit to 1 1/2 feet for birdie on the 16th, the closest of the round on the par-3 hole on the final tee shot of the day.
In the morning, Hadwin — on the 11th green Friday when second-round play was suspended because of darkness — finished off his second straight 66 for a share of the lead with Scheffler at 10 under.
Last year, Scheffler beat Patrick Cantlay in a playoff for his first PGA Tour title. Scheffler added victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, WGC-Match Play and Masters and was the PGA Tour’s player of the year.
The 26-year-old Texan followed a bogey on the par-5 13th — his first bogey since his fourth hole Thursday — with a birdie on the par-4 14th, hitting a 210-yard shot to 4 feet. He also birdied the 17h.
Rahm opened the year with consecutive victories in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express.
Rickie Fowler, the 2019 winner, had a 67 to join Tyrrell Hatton (67), Sungjae Im (67), Jason Day (68) and Xander Schauffele (70) at 9 under. Schauffele bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16.
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