By Paul Myers
Most golf fans haven’t heard the name Vaughn Taylor in a while. Taylor was a rising player around a decade ago, posting a couple of wins and representing the United States in the Ryder Cup. However, he lost his form somewhere along the way, and lost his Tour card as well. Trying to make his way back to the highest level of the game, Taylor has been competing on the Web.com Tour as well as playing in PGA Tour events when possible.
That lifestyle will now change. Taylor was able to capture the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am thanks to a brilliant final round, and he will enjoy everything that comes along with being a Tour winner. Along with being able to get into the tournaments of his choosing, Taylor also has secured entry into The Masters. This was certainly a life-changing weekend for Taylor, which just so happened to take place under sunny skies on perhaps the most-beautiful golf course in the world.
So Close for Mickelson
Entering the final round, it didn’t seem that Taylor would factor in the decision. Phil Mickelson held the lead, and he was heading out for a round on a course where he has experienced tremendous success. Certainly Mickelson was the safe bet to win, but there were also plenty of other players between Taylor and the top of the board. Despite the ground he had to make up, Taylor rocketed to the top with a stunning 65, and then watched as no one remaining on the course was able to match his -17 total.
Of course, Mickelson came very close. After a clutch birdie on the par three 17th, Phil positioned himself nicely on the 18th with a short birdie putt to tie. That putt, however, stayed on the high side and lipped out, giving the win to Taylor. For Mickelson, the week will be both an encouragement and a disappointment. He still shot an impressive -16 total for the week, but his final found 72 ultimately left him just a bit short.
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am featured a rare sight in golf these days – a Sunday in which Jordan Spieth was not in contention for the title. Spieth closed with a 66 to finish in a tie for 21st, but he was never really in contention all week long. Other top players in the field included Jason Day, who tied for 11th, and Justin Rose, who tied for 6th. Thanks to the combination of a great field, brilliant weather, and a dramatic finish, the 2016 version of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was one that will be remembered for years to come.
Moving forward, the Tour heads south to L.A. for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera CC. Riviera is one of the very best courses on the Tour, and as such it consistently draws an excellent field. That story is no different this week, with Spieth once again headlining an impressive group of players who will try to conquer this challenging layout.