Taylor-made win 'special'

A happy family as Canadian Nick Taylor is joined by wife Andie and three-month-old son Charlie after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California on Sunday. Capturing his second PGA Tour title has earned him an invitation to the Masters at Augu
A happy family as Canadian Nick Taylor is joined by wife Andie and three-month-old son Charlie after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California on Sunday. Capturing his second PGA Tour title has earned him an invitation to the Masters at Augusta in April. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Canadian has 'up and down' day at Pebble Beach but holds off Mickelson for victory

LOS ANGELES • Eight months after Nick Taylor and his wife stood on Pebble Beach to announce via Instagram that they were expecting their first child, the Canadian delivered another milestone.

And three-month-old son Charlie was with his mum to celebrate Taylor's second PGA Tour win after he fired a two-under 70 on Sunday to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

"You couldn't write it much better," Taylor, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship as a rookie in November 2014, told the Golf Channel.

"It was super special."

The 31-year-old began the tournament with an eagle at his first hole at Monterey Peninsula and never looked back.

Leading Phil Mickelson by one to start the day, he built his lead to five strokes at the turn only to see it dwindle to two by the 14th hole as players battled in rapidly falling temperatures and gusting winds.

A chip-in birdie at the par-four 15th pushed Taylor's lead back to three and he added another birdie at the par-three 17th to finish with a 19-under total of 268.

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     Years between the two wire-to-wire wins at the Pebble Beach Pro Am - Nick Taylor on Sunday and Phil Mickelson (2005).

American Kevin Streelman was second after a 68 for 272 as Mickelson settled for a two-over 74 and solo third on 273.

"An up and down day," said Taylor, the event's first wire-to-wire winner since Mickelson 15 years ago. "I believed I could do it because I've done it before, but to do it in that fashion, playing with Phil, obviously gives me a lot of confidence going forward."

Among his rewards will be a first invitation to Augusta National for the Masters in April. He was inspired to pursue golf seriously after watching compatriot Mike Weir win there in 2003.

Mickelson also believes his results over the last few weeks has given him momentum for the rest of the year despite falling short in his quest for a record sixth title here.

"It was a hard day but I got outplayed," said the American. "I'm totally fine with that in that I'm going to continue to get better and give myself more chances and I'm really excited about the rest of the year."

The 49-year-old has plenty to motivate him this year, not least the US Open at Winged Foot, the same venue where he double-bogeyed the last hole in 2006 when needing only par to win.

Mickelson has said he would not accept a special exemption into the tournament in June - the only Major he has not won - but Sunday's third-placed finish will help his chances of earning a place on merit.

The result lifted him to No. 55 in the world rankings, with the top 60, as at May 20, exempted. Also on the horizon this year is the Ryder Cup, an event the American has not missed since making his debut in 1995.

The latest world rankings also saw Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy return to the top spot for the first time in five years.

The four-time Major champion displaced American Brooks Koepka, with neither player at Pebble Beach last week. But both golfers are set to play at the Genesis Invitational in California starting on Thursday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2020, with the headline 'Taylor-made win 'special''. Print Edition | Subscribe