After more than a decade since his last PGA TOUR victory, Vaughn Taylor had one goal in mind this week: to win the title of the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he did just that. With his wife Leot and 2-year-old son Locklyn by his side, he celebrated Valentine’s Day by bringing home the crystal trophy.
Taylor, who lives in Augusta, Georgia, did what seemed like the impossible in a field that included six of the world’s top 10 players—Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson—along with many other notable names.
He shot a 7-under-par 65 in the final round at Pebble Beach Golf Links, and to balance out two bogeys he amassed an impressive nine birdies throughout his round, including four consecutive ones on the back nine. With a tournament total of 17-under-par 270, Taylor finished with a one-shot victory over four-time winner Phil Mickelson, who was searching for his fifth tournament win and to tie the record for most AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am titles (currently held by Mark O’Meara).
Not only did Taylor win the tournament title, he and amateur partner Gregg Ontiveros also took home the pro-amateur team trophy, the second time that Ontiveros has won. The duo combined for a 30-under-par 257 and secured a narrow one-shot margin over PGA TOUR pro Jonas Blixt and amateur Jamie Williamson.
The fact that Taylor played the tournament makes the victory even sweeter. A week earlier, he was forced to withdraw from a Web.com Tour event in Colombia due to illness, and he made it into the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am as an alternate. “I was the first alternate at the deadline, and I’m standing here right now, and I just can’t believe it,” Taylor said after his round. “This place has been good to me.”
Despite the difficult road he had, Taylor said his AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am win was a life-changing victory and something that he fought hard for. “It’s been a long time. I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said. “I worked so hard and just kept getting knocked down and knocked down. And I just can’t believe it actually happened today. It’s amazing.”
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