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Without ‘best stuff,’ Scottie Scheffler again a winner in Phoenix, world No. 1

Scottie Scheffler began the week by calling the world rankings “funny.” While he sat second in the Official World Golf Ranking entering his title defense at the WM Phoenix Open, Scheffler didn’t feel like his current form reflected it.

“I would say I’m not playing the second-best golf in the world,” Scheffler admitted. “I think Rory [McIlroy] and Jon [Rahm] are pretty much neck-and-neck for playing the best golf in the world right now.”

Fast forward to Sunday, and Scheffler stood on the 18th green at TPC Scottsdale having not only captured his second straight People’s Open, by two shots over Nick Taylor, but also reclaimed world No. 1 for the first time since last October.

But again, Scheffler was modest in his self-assessment.

“I didn’t have my best stuff today,” he told CBS in his post-round winner’s interview.

In one sense, Scheffler was correct. For the second consecutive day, he found just five fairways. And while he led the field in strokes gained approach for the tournament, he was just 17th in that statistic on Sunday.

On the flip side, the best players have great propensity for getting the most out of their not-so-great days, and no one did that better than Scheffler did this weekend in shooting 68-65. He didn’t card a bogey on Sunday – he had just two total all week, which, according to Scheffler, is “really, really good around this golf course.” And he made the clutch putts when he needed to, none more crucial than a 15-footer for par after missing the green at the par-3 16th hole.

“I’m just proud of how I fought today,” Scheffler said. “… I grinded it out today. I wasn’t hitting it good off the tee, my irons didn’t feel as sharp, but I played a great round of golf.”

Full-field scores from the WM Phoenix Open

When it comes to the past few months, Scheffler’s resumé still might not be better that of Rahm (four wins and nothing worse than T-8 in his last 10 starts, including a solo third at WMPO) or McIlroy (three wins among eight top-8s until a T-32 showing at TPC Scottsdale). But as Scheffler noted recently, the OWGR is “just an algorithm,” and right now, that system favors him.

He’s certainly not undeserving – a win and seven finishes of T-11 or better in a row.

So, whether he played like the world No. 1 or not on Sunday, he’d be moving back into the top spot come Sunday evening.

And how does that feel?

“Yeah,” Scheffler said, “it feels pretty good.”