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Taylor makes improbably run to win Pebble Beach

It's been over a decade since Vaughn Taylor won a PGA Tour event and he was only even in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am because of a late scratch, but made an improbable run in the final round to win it.

It’s been over a decade since Vaughn Taylor won a PGA Tour event and he was only even in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am because of a late scratch, but made an improbable run in the final round to win it.

He was six strokes back heading into Sunday’s fourth round of the Pebble Beach Open, but Vaughn Taylor stormed up the leaderboard to win his first PGA Tour event in over a decade. Taylor was just two-under in the round heading onto the back nine, but hit five birdies, including four-straight on the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes, to take the lead and he secured it with a two-putt for par on the 18th to outlast Phil Mickelson.

“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.”

Taylor has only been part time on the PGA Tour for the past three years and never won a tournament against top competition before. His only wins were at the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2004 and 2005 and that was held at the same time as the World Golf Championship.

What makes his win even more amazing is that he was only put in the tournament last Friday after Carl Petterson withdrew. With the win, though, he has clinched a spot in the Masters and PGA Championship and a full-time schedule for the next two years.

His win was sweet, but bitter for Mickelson.

The five-time major champion and future Hall of Famer was going for his 43rd career PGA Tour victory and had his best three-round performance in three years heading into the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but it just would not be his day.

Mickelson settled for par on the first three holes before bogeying the fourth and fifth holes. The lefty made up for those with birdies before turning home, but played even golf the entire round, hitting two more birdies but also two more bogeys on the back nine.

It came down to the 18th hole.

Mickelson chipped the ball onto the green and the ball settled less than six-feet away, but his putt for birdie lipped out and he settled for a 72 and second place finish instead of a playoff.

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

But while Mickelson missed a clutch put, Taylor nailed one. On the 16th, he was 30-feet away from the hole on one of the toughest greens at Pebble Beach and with one hard swing of the club got it in.

“I’ve had that putt before. It’s a hard putt,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t even thinking about making that putt. I knew it broke a lot, and it’s a little uphill at the end. It’s really easy to leave that putt shot. I flushed it. It was kind of going in from the start.”

Taylor finished 17-under with a 270. Mickelson shot 271 over the four-day tournament. Jason Day was tied for 11th with a nine-under and Jordan Spieth was able to move up 33 spot on the final day but settled for a seven-under after a sluggish start to the event.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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