He made 184 feet of putts, gaining seven strokes on the greens, as he carded an 11-under 60.
That impressive mark ties the course record held in part by Phil Mickelson, who has shot 60 twice at TPC Scottsdale. He first did so in 2005, during the second round of the WM Phoenix Open. He then did it again during the first round in 2013. Mickelson went on to win the WM Phoenix Open on both occasions.
Grant Waite and Mark Calcavecchia also share this record: they shot 60 in 1996 and 2001, respectively. Funny enough, Mickelson won in 1996, while Calcavecchia prevailed in 2001.
Taylor’s 11-under score gave him a five-shot lead through 18 holes. The five-shot lead tied Jim Gallagher Jr. for the largest 18-hole lead in a stroke play event, per the PGA Tour’s official communications. Gallagher Jr. held a five-shot lead after the opening round of the 1993 Tour Championship.
“It felt like I was seeing the lines great. The speed was awesome,” Taylor said after the round.
Nick Taylor today:— Playing Through (@_PlayingThrough) February 9, 2024
✅ Career low round
✅ Tied course record, most recently shot by Phil Mickelson in 2013
✅ Gained more than 7 strokes on the greens
✅ Leads #WMPhoenixOpen by FIVE pic.twitter.com/zSvMOtacKL
“I don’t know what to say. I’ve probably never putted that well. Yeah, I saw the lines great, and it was a continuation of last night. I started on 16, which was nice, and making a putt there and seeing it go in was nice.”
The Canadian holed a 9-footer for birdie on the famous 16th, much to the delight of the early morning crowd.
He went on to make seven more birdies over his final 11 holes.
“I drove it great, ball in hand, and was hitting my irons nice, and I essentially made every putt I looked at,” Taylor added.
“It was a day that you didn’t want it to end.”
Luckily for Taylor, his day at TPC Scottsdale is far from over.
Because of the 3-hour, 30-minute delay on Thursday, half the field—including Taylor—could not complete their rounds before sundown. As such, the second wave had to finish their rounds on Friday, but not before frost further delayed the action by another two hours.
Consequently, the second wave—originally slated to start early Friday—had to turn around and head back out for another 18 holes. So, Taylor had roughly 30 minutes between when he putted out on the ninth green and when he needed to be on the first tee to start his second round.
“It’s obviously a pretty quick turnaround, but when you’re playing well, you want to keep playing, so it’s a good thing,” Taylor said.
Hopefully, for his sake, the Canadian can keep the hot streak going.