World number 447 Vaughan Taylor defied the odds to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am event on Sunday after shooting a seven-under-par 65 final round to edge out three-time US Masters golf champion Phil Mickelson by one shot.
The 39-year-old American claimed his first PGA Tour title in 11 years in California just six days after he sneaked into the event as first reserve. Taylor secured the shock victory on the 18th when overnight leader Phil Mickelson missed a short five-foot birdie putt, which would have forced a play-off.
“Just absolutely amazing,” Taylor said. “Didn’t know if it would ever happen again, to be honest. Just lost a lot of confidence, lost a good bit of my game. I just kept working, grinding and kept at it. And I can’t believe it actually happened today.”
Taylor trailed Mickelson by six shots at the start of the day and stated that his only ambition was to crack the top ten in order to qualify for the next PGA Tour event. However, his superb final round was enough to defeat a field of illustrious pros and secure himself a spot at the prestigious US Masters 2016 golf tournament in April.
Taylor began his birdie hot streak on the back nine following a superb approach to the difficult 13th hole. He then sunk a twelve-foot putt on the next hole before making a huge 30-footer on the 16th to put himself in contention. In contrast, Mickelson struggled to get going all day and his missed putt on the final hole closed out a level par 72 as he fell short of a fifth win at Pebble Beach.
Elsewhere, England’s Justin Rose posted an impressive three-under 69 on Sunday to finish in a tie for sixth while last year’s revelation Justin Spieth closed out a solid week of golf to tie for 21st.