Taylor wins by one shot at Pebble Beach

Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:23pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - American journeyman Vaughn Taylor ended a PGA Tour title drought of more than a decade with an explosive back nine to clinch a one-shot win over Phil Mickelson at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California on Sunday.

Taylor began the final round six strokes off the pace but five birdies after the turn propelled him to a closing seven-under-par 65 at a blustery Pebble Beach Golf Links as he posted a winning total of 17-under 270.

Overnight leader Mickelson, seeking his first PGA Tour win since the 2013 British Open, stunningly lipped out a five-foot birdie putt at the last to force a playoff and had to settle for second place after carding a roller-coaster 72.

Swede Jonas Blixt, one of four players who held at least a share of the lead in the final round, was a further stroke back in third at 15 under after shooting a 69.

"It's been a long time and I didn't think it was going to happen," an emotional Taylor, 39, told CBS Sports after clinching his first PGA Tour win since the 2005 Reno-Tahoe Open, and his third overall.

"I've worked so hard and just kept getting knocked down and knocked down," said Taylor, who has not played a full season on the PGA Tour since 2012 while bouncing between it and the satellite Web.com tour over the past three seasons.

"I can't believe it actually happened again. Just amazing. I'm at a loss for words right now. I didn't even have my tour card and got in this week on past champion status, and now I'm playing in the Masters pretty soon. It's a dream come true."

Taylor had moved into a share of the lead for the first time with a tap-in birdie at the 15th, then drained a 28-footer at the par-four 16th to edge one ahead before clinching the winner's cheque for $1.26 million.

Mickelson, a four-times champion at Pebble Beach, struggled with his iron play for much of the day and needed to finish birdie-birdie to force a playoff after sinking a clutch par putt from 12 feet at the 16th.   Continued...

 
PGA golfer Vaughn Taylor tees off on the first hole during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports