Phil Mickelson flounders as Nick Taylor wins AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
At the end of a star-studded week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it was a relative no-name on the PGA Tour claiming the title. Here’s what you missed from the final round at Pebble.
Who won: Nick Taylor (two-under 70; 19 under overall)
How it happened: Taylor went wire-to-wire on Monterey Peninsula, outlasting Phil Mickelson with a windy final round 70 from Pebble Beach. It was largely a two-man show on Sunday, with Jason Day (the only other golfer within striking distance of Mickelson and Taylor heading into Sunday) shooting three over and ejecting early. Mickelson wasted a sublime Saturday 67 with a blow-up at the turn; making double on the eighth hole in a bizarre sequence to fall three back of Taylor, a deficit from which he would never recover (more on that later). Taylor, on the other hand, rode a mostly pain-free afternoon to a two-under 70. His biggest moment came on the par-4 15th when he rebounded from a dreadful double on the previous hole to chip-in for birdie, keeping Mickelson from nipping at his heels.
Why it matters: The win marked Taylor’s second-ever on the PGA Tour and prolonged Phil’s winless streak, which now stretches to more than a year.
History waits: Another win at the AT&T would’ve given Mickelson six career wins at the tournament, passing Mark O’Meara for the most all-time.
Best Swing: Nick Taylor’s sandy for eagle on the par-5 6th hole wins swing of the day for a couple of reasons. Not only was it a flawless stroke from a tough bunker, but it sufficiently cooled Mickelson’s hot start and widened the gap between the two golfers.
Worst Swing: Phil Mickelson’s approach on eight is the runaway winner for this award, but truthfully, the entire hole earns consideration. After thinning his drive only 180 yards off the tee with a long-iron, Mickelson elected not to lay-up and ensure a par, but rather to wait out the group ahead until the green had cleared. From there was an abject disaster. An overcooked approach put him in no man’s land long of the green, then a botched flop returned him to the front envelope, where he would’ve been had he just laid up in the first place. Two putts later, Mickelson had doubled and fallen three strokes back of Taylor.
Phil’s debacle on 8 started on the tee. An uncharacteristically conservative play left him with 230 in! *Then* he got aggressive and went at a flag when the baked green is almost impossible to hold with a long-iron…and long is dead. Some head-scratching stuff.
— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) February 9, 2020
Gusted: Blustery conditions and firm greens wreaked havoc on the field at Pebble all day, with Mickelson and Taylor receiving the worst of the wind.
A lightbulb moment? Jordan Spieth had the best final round in the field, shooting 5-under to backdoor his way into the top-10. Encouragingly, Spieth drained a LONG putt on 18 (and a fist-pump to go with it) to secure his 67. It was the three-time major champ’s first top-10 and first made-cut of the 2020 calendar year.
Notables: Phil Mickelson finished in solo third-place at 14 under, Jason Day finished in solo fourth at 11 under and Max Homa posted a two-over 74 to finish T-14 at six under.
Up Next: The west coast swing continues! Phil and Jordan join Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed among a LOADED field for the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA.
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