Taylor notches long-awaited second PGA TOUR win
Goes wire-to-wire at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
February 10, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Nick Taylor's Round 4 highlights from AT&T Pebble Beach
A lot of Canadians have won on the PGA TOUR, but how many have done it more than once? Only six, as it turns out, led by Mike Weir and George Knudson with eight apiece. The latest multiple winner from Canada: Nick Taylor (70, 19 under), who twice holed out from off the green to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in wire-to-wire fashion over Kevin Streelman (68). It was the second TOUR win for Taylor and the first since the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship. He held off five-time AT&T Pebble Beach champion Phil Mickelson in stiff winds that sent scores soaring to a 74.426 stroke average, and shot up to 13th in the FedExCup. Not bad for a guy who has been scrambling just to keep his TOUR card the last few years.
Welcome to the Monday Finish.
THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS
1. The hole-out at the sixth. Mickelson was on the green in two at the uphill par-5, while Taylor was in a greenside bunker. Advantage, Lefty? Nope. From just over 47 feet away, Taylor splashed out and watched his ball roll into the cup for eagle, and when Mickelson couldn’t convert from long range for his own eagle, Taylor had extended his lead from one to two. “I mean, Nick played better than I did,” Mickelson said. “That eagle on six, the putts he made on four, five and seven, and he just really played some great golf.” For more on Taylor, click here.
2. Taylor was an iron giant. Pebble Beach has notoriously small greens, and hitting them is imperative. The last five winners of the tournament had ranked in the top 10 in Greens in Regulation, and Taylor (54/72, T3) made it six straight. On the rare occasions when he failed to hit the green, he bounced back strong, typified by his nearly 36-foot chip-in from the rough to birdie the par-4 15th hole. The short-game magic came at an especially good time, what with Taylor having double-bogeyed the previous hole to cut his lead to two.
3. He made the most of his chance when it came. Taylor, who became the tournament’s first international winner since Vijay Singh in 2004, hadn’t exactly been knocking on the door. In nine previous starts this season, he had one top-10 finish. He was the third Canadian option, at best, for the International Presidents Cup Team last year, after Adam Hadwin, who was selected, and Corey Conners, who was not. And yet Taylor kept at it, undeterred. “I had to battle for my card the last few years,” he said after celebrating with his wife, Andie, and 3-month-old son, Charlie. “I think some of those rounds to keep my card helped me today for sure.”
Nick Taylor news conference after winning AT&T Pebble Beach
Mickelson’s silver lining was for real. Whether it was the fatigue of playing overseas the week before, the swirling winds that made club-selection a guessing game, or something else, Phil Mickelson (74) just didn’t have it in the final round. “I got outplayed,” he said. Specifically, he suffered a rare short-game lapse and double-bogeyed the par-4 eighth hole, and played his last 12 holes in 5 over. And yet there was so much to be excited about. For one thing, this was his first top-10 finish on TOUR since he won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last season. And it marked the 30th consecutive season he’s had at least one top-10 finish, making him one of just three players to have reached that number, along with Sam Snead (34) and Raymond Floyd (32). Although he admitted to struggling with the conditions, Mickelson was delighted just to be in the hunt again. “It was fun to get back in it,” he said. “And these last couple of weeks have really given me a lot of motivation and momentum to continue doing what I’ve been doing.”
Spieth suddenly has momentum. It wasn’t just Taylor and Mickelson; plenty of other players were also trending in the right direction at Pebble Beach. Jason Day (75, solo fourth) registered his fourth straight top-five finish, Daniel Berger (69, T5) continued to bounce back from injury, and Maverick McNealy (66-68 weekend) went from T89 at the halfway point to a T5 finish. Also, Charl Schwartzel (T5) earned 96 FedExCup points and went a long way toward fulfilling the terms of his Major Medical Extension. Then there was 2015 FedExCup champion Jordan Spieth, who in shooting the day’s best score (67) went from T55 to T9. “This is what I’ve been seeing,” said Spieth, who shot just three final-round scores in the 60s last season. “It’s just today I finally had a lot of good numbers. I’ve just felt like the last few days I’ve been in between clubs a lot, and hard to commit, and then today it was just one of those days where it hit me kind of where I could commit to a lot of full shots.” His next start: this week’s Genesis Invitational.
“I had to battle for my card the last few years.” – Nick Taylor, whose AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am win gives him a two-year exemption on TOUR.
“I had a lot of looks on the front nine; almost every hole.” – Jordan Spieth (67, T9) after shooting his first final-round score in the 60s this season.
“We just ham-and-egged it perfectly.” – Kevin Streelman (68, solo second), who won the pro-am portion with Larry Fitzgerald for the second time.
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is a season-long competition that offers a $10 million bonus for the 10 golfers who end the regular season at the Wyndham Championship inside the top 10 in FedExCup points. The player atop the standings will earn $2 million, with varying payoffs for the others through $500,000 for the 10th place finisher.
Justin Thomas remains in the lead after the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am; Webb Simpson is still in second. Kevin Na finished T14 at Pebble to move from 13th to 10th, while Nick Taylor remains just outside the Top 10, going from 79th to 13th after his victory.
Here’s how the standings look heading into this week’s Genesis Invitational.
THIS WEEK LAST WEEK PLAYER 1. 1. Justin Thomas 2. 2.
Webb Simpson 3. 3.
4. 5. Lanto Griffin 5.
4. Sebastian Muñoz
6. 6. Rory McIlroy
7. 7. Cameron Smith
8. 8. Sungjae Im
9. 9. Marc Leishman
10. 13. Kevin Na