Via a roller-coaster round of 70 that included five birdies, three bogeys, an eagle and a double, a windblown Nick Taylor stayed upright long enough to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. Here’s how Taylor fought his way to the finish line on a difficult day on the Monterey Peninsula:
Leaderboard: Taylor (-19), Kevin Streelman (-15), Phil Mickelson (-14), Jason Day (-11)
What it means: This is Taylor’s second PGA Tour victory and his first in nearly five years, since his breakthrough at the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship. Up one to start the day after sleeping on the first 54-hole lead of his career, Taylor played his first six holes in 4 under, going birdie-birdie-eagle at Nos. 4-6. Up five over Mickelson at the turn, he sure managed to make it interesting. He played a four-hole stretch from Nos. 11-14 in 4 over with two bogeys and a double. Luckily for him, Mickelson was likewise leaking oil, and the lead was never less than two. Taylor then steadied himself with a chip-in birdie at 15 and put the tournament away for good with another circle at 17. Taylor is the first player to go wire to wire at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 15 years, since Mickelson did so in 2005. With the win, he secures PGA Tour membership through the 2021-22 season and earns invitations to this year’s Masters, Players and PGA Championship.
Biggest disappointment: Just one back to start the final round, Mickelson got off to an encouraging start, with three birdies in his first six holes. Then the wheels came off. He played his final 11 holes in 5 over par to fall into solo third behind Streelman. A two-way tie for second or better would have seen Mickelson re-enter the world's top 50 and qualify for the WGC-Mexico Championship. He'll have another opportunity to do so next week at Riviera. The defending champion at Pebble, Mickelson in his last five starts at this event has finished second-65th-second-first-third.
Round of the day: On a day with a final-round scoring average of 74.43, Jordan Spieth signed for a 5-under 67 that included three birdies on each nine and just a single bogey. The T-9 finish is Spieth’s first top-10 in a full-field event since the Northern Trust in August, and it should be enough to get him back in the world's top 50, qualifying him for the WGC-Mexico.
Best of the rest: Streelman played his way into second with a 4-under 68 and for the second time in three years won the Pro-Am portion of the event alongside amateur partner Larry Fitzgerald. Maverick McNealy also signed for 68 to secure his best finish on Tour, a tie for fifth at 9 under par.
Shots of the day: Taylor’s two holeouts. From the greenside bunker for eagle at the par-5 sixth:
And from short of the green for birdie at the par-4 15th:
And here's the birdie at 17 that put the tournament away for good:
Honorable mention: This ridiculous up-and-down from Mickelson from some 40 yards over the back of the 13th green:
Quote of the day: “That was amazing. Up-and-down day. You know, 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.” – Taylor