Nick Taylor holds a one-shot lead going into Sunday but still has 12 holes of his third round remaining; ticket holders were turned away and alcohol sales limited as the course became overcrowded; watch the WM Phoenix Open live on Sky Sports from 3:30pm on Sunday
Sunday 11 February 2024 08:18, UK
Canadian Nick Taylor held a one-shot lead on 13-under as the third round at the Phoenix Open was left incomplete when Saturday's play was suspended because of darkness.
Taylor, who is seeking a fourth PGA Tour victory, continued to ride his fast start after matching the TPC Scottsdale record with an 11-under 60 to finish his first round on Friday, but completed just six holes Saturday, with one birdie and five pars.
Sahith Theegala used five birdies on the back nine of his second round early on Saturday to shoot a 64 and take a one-shot lead into the third, but bogeyed his first two holes of the third round before making a birdie at the fourth to pull within a stroke of Taylor.
Doug Ghim and Andrew Novak were 11 under, with Jordan Spieth and Cameron Young at 10 under.
Scottie Scheffler - eyeing his third straight Phoenix Open win and a first three-peat on the PGA Tour in 13 years - was five shots back at eight under.
Justin Thomas finished level with Scheffler, Ireland's Shane Lowry is the leading European on seven under, while England's Matt Fitzpatrick is a shot further back.
While conditions were dry on Saturday, a long weather delay on Thursday left half the field needing to finish their first rounds on Friday and a 90-minute frost delay on Friday pushed tee times back even further.
That moved much of the second round into Saturday and there was another delay - this one for just 21 minutes - in the morning because of unplayable conditions.
The leaders teed off for the third round at 4.10 pm, giving them about two hours on the course before play was suspended.
Sunday's forecast is dry and slightly warmer, though there could be another frost delay.
Much of Saturday's biggest news happened outside the ropes. The famously no-holds-barred tournament had to turn away some ticket holders and limited alcohol sales because the course became too crowded.
"Due to larger than usual crowds, the WM Phoenix Open entrance gates are temporarily closed and shuttle service to the event is on hold," the tournament put on social media. "Shuttle service back to parking lots will remain running. Regularly check our channels for updates."
The Phoenix Open, dubbed the "Greatest Show on Grass," is unlike anything in golf. Masses of up to 200,000 fans pack TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course with cheers, boos and the occasional beer shower.
The eye of the rowdy hurricane is the stadium 16th hole, a multi-tiered frat party of a par-three where "Quiet please" signs are met with ample disdain.
Players usually enjoy the atmosphere because everyone knows it's a once-a-year phenomenon. But even parties have limits.
"It was pretty epic," Theegala said. "There were a bunch of guys with my name and face on their shirts. An officer was telling me people got too drunk, but it was all in good fun. Hopefully everyone stayed safe.
"It's a blast, even if some people aren't the best drunks."
The huge crowds came to Scottsdale despite less-than-ideal weather conditions. It was raining and chilly for most of the morning before the sun peeked through the clouds and temperatures rose in the afternoon.
Theegala shot up the leaderboard on the back nine of the second round early on Saturday, with birdies at 11, 13, 14, 15 and 17. The 26-year-old won his first PGA Tour title last year at the Fortinet Championship.
"After the first few holes, we finally got scoreable conditions," Theegala said. "No wind, soft greens, which is rare out here."
Watch the WM Phoenix Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Sunday from 3:30pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and more on NOW.
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