Taylor dominates to win Club Colombia Championship
February 11, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Englishman and LSU alum Ben Taylor hoists his first Web.com Tour trophy in his 26th Tour start (Alex Wood/PGA TOUR).
BOGOTA, Colombia – Last December, Englishman Ben Taylor found himself in Chandler, Arizona, competing at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, attempting to better his status on Tour for 2018. Despite three top-25 finishes in 2017, the Tour rookie had finished the Regular Season at No. 80 on the money list, narrowly missing a berth into the Web.com Tour Finals and exempt status for the following year. Now, just two months later, the Louisiana State University alum is a first-time winner after carding a closing-round 3-under-par 68 at the Club Colombia Championship, good for a six-stroke victory – the largest in tournament history – over K.H. Lee, Erik Barnes, Jason Gore and fellow LSU Tiger Sam Burns.
“It’s still quite surreal,” Taylor said about the difference two months makes. “To know that I had to shoot 17-under in December to be here this week is certainly a good feeling now that I’ve become the champion. It just goes to show that the hard work does pay off. I’m certainly very thrilled to come out on top this week. It’s a surreal feeling and a dream come true.”
Taylor entered Sunday at Country Club de Bogota four strokes clear of the field, but a bogey on the opening hole ensured the 25-year-old would have to play aggressively to keep the lead as the leaderboard became more and more bunched behind him at 9-under par. Taylor went on par the next two holes before picking up his first birdie of the day on the par-4 fourth. He carded four more birdies on the round to move to 16-under before dropping a stroke on the par-3 15th.
As Taylor approached the fairway on No. 17, the London native and current Orlando, Florida, resident looked at the leaderboard for the first time, only to see he’d opened up a six-stroke lead on the rest of the field with two left to play.
“I made sure not to look at any leaderboards all day,” Taylor laughed, “But when I was coming down No. 17 and realized I was ahead by six, I realized it was pretty difficult to mess it up. That’s when I realized the job was done. It certainly made the three-shot par-5 finish a lot easier.”
The former NCAA Division I and Division II champion finished the week at 15-under 269 for the tournament, just three strokes shy of the tournament-best 266 carded by Patrick Cantlay in 2013. With his opening-round 4-under 67, Taylor also tied Cantlay for the lowest start by a tournament champion. This week also marked the first time Taylor held a 36- and 54-hole lead.
The maiden victory for Taylor came with a $126,000 paycheck, enough to move him to No. 3 on the money list. For Taylor, who played every event of the Regular Season in 2017, the win reorients his goals for the season from simply retaining his Web.com Tour card to making a chase for a spot in The 25 and his first PGA TOUR card. The win also allowed Taylor to live out a dream almost three years in the making.
“The walk up No. 18 was really special. I remember before I even had my card on this Tour or the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada, I watched the highlights of Steve Marino and Patrick Rodgers from this tournament,” said Taylor, who was a Mackenzie Tour member in 2016.
“I saw how big the crowds were and I thought, ‘Man, that’s quite cool. I’d love to be there and do that one day.’ When I walked up and all the crowd were applauding for me; that was pretty cool.”
* This week’s purse was $700,000, with $126,000 going to the champion.
* With his win, Ben Taylor becomes the first 36-hole leader to win on the Web.com Tour since Aaron Wise won the Wichita Open in 2017.
* Taylor’s six-shot victory is the largest on the Web.com Tour since Sam Ryder won the 2017 Pinnacle Bank Championship by eight shots.
* Taylor becomes the fourth foreign-born winner of the Club Colombia Championship in the event’s nine-year history, joining Brendan Papas (2011, South Africa), Alex Cejka (2014, Germany) and Sebastian Munoz (2016, Colombia.)
* Taylor is the fourth Englishman to win in Web.com Tour history, and the first since 2014, joining Edward Fryatt (1999 Nike Hershey Open), Gary Christian (2009 Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, 2011 Mylan Classic) and Greg Owen (2014 United Leasing & Finance Championship).
* With the victory, the Web.com Tour has four winners from four different countries thus far in 2018: Sungjae Im (South Korea), Adam Svensson (Canada), Scott Langley (United States) and Ben Taylor (England). This marks the first time that has happened in the first four events of a season since 2014.
* Taylor’s six-stroke victory sets a new tournament record for margin of victory, surpassing Patrick Cantlay’s four-shot victory in 2013.
* For the first time since 2014, the first four events of the Web.com Tour season were won by first-time winners.
* South Korea native K.H. Lee closed play at the Club Colombia Championship with a 7-under 64, tying the previous record for the lowest final-round score in tournament history (Luke Guthrie and Roberto Diaz, 2017). The 64 was Lee’s best score in his last 31 rounds on Tour.
* Lee’s 6-under 30 on the closing nine Sunday tied the best nine-hole score of the 2018 Web.com Tour season.
* The T2 finish by Erik Barnes tied a career-best, dating back to a solo-second-place effort at the Chile Classic in 2015.
* Jason Gore, who holds the Web.com Tour’s all-time victories record with seven, earned the fourth runner-up of his career with a T2. The former PGA TOUR winner notched two runner-ups in 2014, and finished in solo-second place at the 2017 United Leasing & Finance Championship.
* Through four events in 2018, there are seven international players inside the top 10 on the Web.com Tour money list, including Sungjae Im (South Korea), Adam Svensson (Canada), Ben Taylor (England), Rafael Campos (Puerto Rico), Carlos Ortiz (Mexico), Rhein Gibson (Australia) and K.H. Lee (South Korea).
* Four players this week recorded two eagles in a single round: William Kropp (Rd. 2), Kevin Dougherty (Rd. 2), Chip Lynn (Rd. 3) and Mito Pereira (Rd. 4).
* With a 3-under 68, Alex Kang was the only player to record a bogey-free round on Sunday.
* The 525-yard par-5 second played as the hardest hole this week with an average of 5.359, surrendering just 23 birdies and 22 scores of double-bogey or worse.