February 25 2012
By Laury Livsey, PGA TOUR Staff
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- When Greg Norman designed the El Camaleon Golf Club in 2005, the World Golf Hall of Famer took advantage of a natural cave on the property and incorporated what the Mexicans call the cenote into his design. In the middle of what plays as the seventh hole during the Mayakoba Golf Classic but is the opening hole for members and guests the rest of the year, the cave comes complete with stalagtites, a pool of water and plenty of iguanas. The cave goes underneath the seventh green, with adventuresome spelunkers -- Norman has been one of them -- emerging on the other side near the eighth green.
Vaughn Taylor made history on the hole Friday when he made the first double eagle in the six-year history of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. More importantly, at least to Taylor, it was his first double eagle and the 108th on the PGA TOUR since the TOUR began tracking them in 1970.
Following a second-round 69 to go with his even-par 71 in the opening round, Taylor is tied for 20th, six strokes behind the trio of leaders.
“I do like [the hole]. With the cave there in the middle of the fairway, it’s kind of a different hole, and reachable par‑5s are always fun,” he said.
This is Taylor’s third time playing in the tournament along the Riviera Maya, and the nine-year pro has taken advantage of the hole. In the 2007 and 2009 tournaments, when it was the event’s opening hole, he recorded four birdies and four pars there. His 5-wood from 263 yards Friday was the best he’s had there, though.
“There’s a ridge behind the hole, so I didn't know if it went in or it went over the ridge. I thought it went in and my caddie thought it went in, though” Taylor added.
Near the green, Taylor’s wife, Leot, and playing partner Michael Thompson’s wife, Rachel, began screaming as the ball rolled in the hole. “It was kind of a delayed scream I guess, and I couldn’t really hear them,” Taylor added.
“And then I bogeyed the next hole, which was kind of a letdown. I wish I had kept the momentum going.”