'Surreal' win caps whirlwind period for Taylor
First Canadian-born player to win on PGA TOUR since 2007
November 09, 2014
By Rusty Hampton, PGATOUR.COM
- Prior to his win, the highest finish for Nick Taylor on TOUR came at the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
JACKSON, Miss. – Forgive Nick Taylor if the last six months of his young life seem like a blur.
He got married in May, struggled with his golf game throughout the summer, found enough magic with the putter in October to earn a spot on the PGA TOUR, and then on Sunday he fired a final-round 6-under 66 at the Country Club of Jackson to win the Sanderson Farms Championship by two strokes.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Taylor, a 26-year-old Canadian who played at the University of Washington. “I’m kind of in shock. It’s surreal.”
Taylor earned $720,000 from the $4 million purse, plus an exemption through the 2016-17 season. He’s the first Canadian-born citizen to win on the PGA TOUR since Mike Weir in 2007. (Stephen Ames, who won in 2009, is from Trinidad and Tobago and a naturalized Canadian citizen).
His 66 included a three-putt bogey on No. 18 that didn’t really matter – he held a three-shot lead going into the hole. Through the first 17 holes, he took just 24 putts, and he one-putted 10 of the first 16 greens.
Asked to rate his putting day, he smiled and said: “The highest ever. All my birdie putts were scaring the hole or going in, and that par putt on 16 was huge. This reminded me a lot of my last round at the Web.com finals at Sawgrass. I putted the lights out there and it was similar today. My speed was good and they all just seemed to go in.”
Taylor was referring to the final round of the Web.com Tour Championship, where he shot a final-round 7-under 63 to finish tied for 21st and earn his first PGA TOUR card.
Taylor started Sunday’s final round four shots behind leader John Rollins, who had put together solid rounds of 68-66-68 to reach 14-under par and hold a two-shot lead over William McGirt. But while Rollins was stuck in neutral – he didn’t make his first birdie until the 11th, and then gave that right back with a bogey on No. 12 – Taylor put on a charge. He made five birdies and a bogey on the front nine to get to 14 under and tied for the lead, and then took control with birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 15. He made an 8-footer for par on No. 16 to keep the momentum going, then cruised to his first PGA TOUR win.
Rollins shot 73 and finished tied for fourth with Peter Uihlein (65) and Justin Thomas (67).
Jason Bohn (69) and Boo Weekley (66) finished second at 14 under, two shots back.
Rollins was the only player in the field to shoot in the 60s each of the first three rounds, but Sunday was a different story for the veteran with three TOUR wins who lost his TOUR card with a poor 2013-14 season.
“I didn’t play bad, I just never got anything going,” said Rollins. “It seemed like whenever I had a birdie putt I had to be defensive. But that was nice playing by Nick. My hat’s off to him.”
Taylor’s new wife, Angie, wasn’t in attendance to see his first TOUR win. She was working, too, as a social worker at Abbotsford Hospital in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She’ll fly to Jackson on Monday and then travel to Mexico with her husband for the OHL Classic of Mayakoba, the last event of 2014 in the 2014-15 wrap-around season.
Taylor said he called his wife as soon as he could after winning.
“She was in tears,” he said. “She doesn’t know what’s going on. I don’t really know what’s going on, either.”
Nick Taylor shoots 66 to win at Sanderson Farms
FORMER AMATEUR STARS SHINE: While this was his first TOUR victory, Taylor has been in the spotlight before. He finished 36th in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, and his 65 during that tournament was the lowest score for an amateur in a major. That finish propelled him to the No. 1 amateur ranking in the world at the time.
Another former No. 1-ranked amateur also made a big move on Sunday shooting the day’s low round of 7-under 65.
Peter Uihlein rocketed up the leaderboard with a bogey-free round, making four consecutive birdies on the back nine to finish at 13 under, tied for fourth. It equaled the low round of the tournament, tying the 65 shot by first-round leader Sebastian Cappelen.
“I played well, had a lot of good things happen,” said Uihlein, who is playing the European Tour fulltime and got into the Sanderson Farms Championship on a sponsor’s exemption. “It gives me a lot of confidence. … I had a top-10 at Australia a few weeks ago. I was struggling early because of an injury, so it’s nice to get back playing.”
The top-10 finish earned Uihlein a spot in next week’s PGA TOUR OHL Classic at Mayakoba, but he said he’ll stick with his schedule and play in the European Tour’s Turkish Open in Antayla, Turkey.
Shot of the Day
Peter Uihlein sinks 27-yard birdie chip at Sanderson for Shot of the Day
PADRAIG'S PLIGHT: Padraig Harrington played well the first two days (70-69), but the three-time major winner collapsed on the weekend with rounds of 76 and 76.
His 76 on Sunday included a 9 on the par-4 12th, one of the shortest holes on the course.
Harrington’s approach rolled to the edge of a greenside hazard, and his chip went over the green. His next shot was short, and after reaching the green, he four-putted.
BEST SOCIAL MEDIA OF THE DAY:
Unreal playing @ntaylorgolf59. Great composure. Star in the making! Awesome stuff!— Graham DeLaet (@GrahamDeLaet) November 9, 2014
GREAT THINGS TO COME: After 20 years at Annandale Golf Club in nearby Madison, the tournament was moved to the Country Club of Jackson.
One of the main reasons for the move, said title-sponsor CEO Joe Sanderson, was that facilities at CCJ gave the tournament a better chance to raise more money for Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson. Last year’s event donated $500,000 to the hospital. Sanderson said he expects to donate nearly $1 million this year.
“Our revenues have more than doubled, so I would anticipate our charitable contribution will double,” said Sanderson. “I’m very pleased with that.”
ODDS & ENDS
Taylor is the first non-American to win the Sanderson Farms Championship since Luke Donald of England won in 2002. ...
Former Mississippi State golfer Carlos Sainz, a TOUR rookie, shot 69-69 on the weekend to finish T9 at 10 under.
CALL OF THE DAY:
Gary Christian of PGA TOUR Radio on SiruxXM and PGATOUR.COM calls Nick Taylor's third consecutive birdie at No. 15 at Sanderson Farms Championship.
Nick Taylor's putt curls in for birdie on No. 15 at Sanderson Farms
ROUND 4 STATS REPORT
Fewest putts Blayne Barber, Charles Howell III, Nicholas Thompson, Peter Uihlein 25 putts Strokes gained-putting Nick Taylor 4.594 strokes Strokes gained: tee-to-green Peter Uihlein 4.844 strokes Driving distance Peter Uihlein 323 yards Driving accuracy Boo Weekley 11 of 14, 78.57 percent Birdies Nick Taylor, David Hearn, Blayne Barber 8 Greens in regulation Mark Hubbard, Greg Owen, Shawn Stefani 16 of 18, 88.9 percent
Here's a look at the best moments during the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship.