Vaughn Taylor’s Cinderella Story at Pebble

Taylor beat Mickelson by one to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Vaughn Taylor wins Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Vaughn Taylor wins Pebble Beach Pro-Am
(Image credit: Getty Images)

World Number 447 Vaughn Taylor was an unexpected winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. His final round 65 saw him finish one clear of Phil Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson held a two-shot lead at Pebble Beach, but struggled on the final day. Jonas Blixt of Sweden was first to catch the left-hander but he fell away with a bogey on the 14th. Hiroshi Iwata of Japan was within one until he dropped a shot at the 16th.

It was Vaughn Taylor who set the mark with a superb final round of 65 that included four straight birdies from the 13th.

Mickelson found himself two off Taylor’s 17-under target with two to play, but he gave himself a great chance of matching the number. He birdied the testing par-3 17th and then left himself a 5-foot birdie putt on the last to force a playoff. It didn’t drop, Mickelson doubled over in disappointment and Taylor was a champion again for the first time since the 2005 Reno-Tahoe Open.

3 Talking points from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

1 – Vaughn Taylor’s Cinderella Story at Pebble is quite an incredible one. The 39-year-old hasn’t been a full member of the PGA Tour since 2012. He wasn’t even in the field for this tournament until Carl Pettersson withdrew last Friday. He had been playing in South America and on the Tour and was 447th on the Official World Golf Ranking. With the win, Augusta resident Taylor will play in The Masters for the first time since 2008.

"It's been a long time. I didn't think it was going to happen," Taylor said. "I worked so hard. I kept getting knocked down, knocked down. I'm just at a loss for words."

2 – Phil Mickelson, going for his 43rd PGA Tour victory, and his first since The Open Championship of 2013, couldn’t quite believe he had missed out. He was certain he would make the playoff-forcing put on the 72nd hole.

“It never crossed my mind that one on 18 wouldn’t go in,” he said.

Having said that the 45-year-old is clearly back to something approaching his best form after this event and a tie for third in the Career Builder Challenge. “The positive is that I’m having more fun playing golf than I’ve had in years,” he said.

3 – England’s Justin Rose had a steady week, finishing in a tie for 6th. It could have been better but for a dropped shot at the 72nd hole. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has been easing himself into the 2016 season and this was just his second start of the calendar year on the PGA Tour – it was quite an improvement from his missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open…. There could be better things to come from Justin in the coming weeks.

Justin Rose swing sequence:

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Pebble Beach GL, Pebble Beach California Feb 11-14 Purse $7,000,000, par 72

1    Vaughn Taylor (USA)    70    68    67    65    270    $1,260,000 2    Phil Mickelson (USA)    68    65    66    72    271    $756,000 3    Jonas Blixt (Swe)        67    69    67    69    272    $476,000 T4    Hiroshi Iwata (Jap)    66    66    69    72    273    $308,000 T4    Freddie Jacobson (Swe)    65    69    68    71    273    $308,000 T6    Patrick Reed (USA)    72    65    73    65    275    $243,250 T6    Justin Rose (Eng)        66    68    72    69    275    $243,250 T8    Roberto Castro (USA)    66    70    67    74    277    $203,000 T8    Bill Haas (USA)        69    68    69    71    277    $203,000 T8    Brooks Koepka (USA)    68    70    69    70    277    $203,000

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?