Los Angeles - Journeyman Vaughn Taylor
surged to victory in the PGA Tour's Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday, firing a
seven-under 65 for a one-shot victory over five-time major winner Phil
For Taylor, it was the end of a victory
drought stretching to 2005, while Mickelson remained in search of his first US
PGA Tour title since the 2012 British Open.
Mickelson had birdied 17 and had a chance
to force a playoff with a birdie at 18, but to his shock his five-foot putt
lipped out to leave Taylor to celebrate his victory on 17-under par 270.
Mickelson had looked poised to end his long
dry spell when he took a two-shot lead into the final round of the Northern
California tournament he has won four times.
But an even par round of 72 that included
four bogeys and two birdies wasn't enough to get the job done and he settled
for second on 271.
"I'm certainly disappointed that I
wasn't able to put it together," Mickelson said. "But it makes me a
little bit more determined to get this back where I want it.
"I played a little tighter than I
wanted," he added. "A few more mistakes in the short game around the
Sweden's Jonas Blixt challenged early,
aided by an eagle at the par-five sixth, but finished with a 69 for 272.
Japan's Hiroshi Iwata, tied for the lead
after his third birdie of the day at the 11th, bogeyed 16 and 18 and finished
tied for fourth on 273 alongside Sweden's Freddie Jacobson, who carded a 71.
Taylor, 39, captured his third tour title,
to go with back-to-back victories in the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2004 and 2005.
He played in the Ryder Cup in 2006, but
fluctuating form saw him lose his tour card, and he has bounced between the US
tour and the developmental Web.com tour in recent seasons.
In addition to struggles on the course, he
endured a frightening boat accident while fishing on a river near his home in
2014 - one in which he feared he would drown.
"It has been a long time," Taylor
said, becoming more emotional as he spoke. "I didn't think it was going to
happen. I've worked so hard and just kept getting knocked down and knocked
down. I can't believe it.
"I can't believe it happened
Taylor's nine birdies on the par-72 Pebble
Beach Golf Links included four in a row from the 13th. He capped that run by
rattling in a 29-footer at the 16th.
"I wasn't even thinking about making
that putt," Taylor said. "I just tried to put a good roll on it ... I
just flushed it."
With the win, Taylor - who calls Augusta,
Georgia, home - booked a return to the Masters for the first time since 2008.
"Oh my God," he said. "I'm
thinking about the Masters. I mean, are you kidding?
"I just wanted to play next
week," added Taylor, is now qualified to do so. "I wasn't even
thinking about winning. Things were just magical out there."
World number one Jordan Spieth ended a
disappointing week on a relatively strong note. After just making the cut - made
after 54 holes to allow all the field to play each of three courses used in the
event - Spieth carded a bogey-free six-under 66 to finished tied for 21st.
Leading final-round scores on Sunday in the US PGA Tour Pebble Beach
National Pro-Am on the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links, par-71 Monterey
Peninsula, par-72 Spyglass Hill (USA unless noted):
270 - Vaughn Taylor 70-68-67-65
271 - Phil Mickelson 68-65-66-72
272 - Jonas Blixt (SWE) 67-69-67-69
273 - Freddie Jacobson (SWE) 65-69-68-71, Hiroshi Iwata (JPN) 66-66-69-72
275 - Patrick Reed 72-65-73-65, Justin Rose (ENG) 66-68-72-69
277 - Brooks Koepka 68-70-69-70, Bill Haas 69-68-69-71, Roberto Castro 66-70-67-74
- Lucas Glover 73-66-72-67, J.B. Holmes 66-72-70-70, Cameron Smith
(AUS) 64-75-69-70, Jimmy Walker 72-71-63-72, Matt Jones (AUS)
68-70-67-73, Jason Day (AUS) 71-66-68-73
279 - Kevin Streelman 70-71-69-69, Tyler Aldridge 70-72-68-69, Jim Herman 69-67-72-71, Kang Sung (KOR) 72-60-70-77
- Spencer Levin 66-73-72-69, Bronson Burgoon 64-76-72-68, Stewart Cink
70-68-72-70, Padraig Harrington (IRL) 68-71-67-74, Jordan Spieth
281 - Dawie van der Walt (RSA) 66-76-69-70, Luke Donald (ENG) 70-69-69-73, Mark Hubbard 70-66-70-75, Chez Reavie 63-70-71-77