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The final leaderboard for the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California is in. Vaughn Taylor shot the best round of the day, a 7-under 65, to win by one stroke over runner-up Phil Mickelson, who missed a 5-footer for birdie that would have forced a playoff. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Vaughn Taylor (-17)
(2) Phil Mickelson (-16)
(3) Jonas Blixt (-15)
(T4) Freddie Jacobson (-14)
(T4) Hiroshi Iwata (-14)
(T6) Patrick Reed (-12)
(T6) Justin Rose (-12)
(T8) Brooks Koepka (-10)
(T8) Bill Haas (-10)
(T8) Roberto Castro (-10)
Here are my thoughts and a few statistics on the champion and some notable golfers near the top of the leaderboard:
Winner: Vaughn Taylor (-17) – This is the 39 year old’s third PGA Tour win and first in over 10 years, his last being at the 2005 Reno-Tahoe Open. He has one Nationwide Tour win under his belt, and his best finish in a major was a T10 at the 2007 Masters. His previous two finishes on the PGA Tour during the 2015-2016 season were a missed cut at the RSM Classic last November and a T20 at the Sanderson Farms. Aside from the win this week, his best finish at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am over the past five years was a T10 in 2015. There didn’t appear to be any prior indication that he might perform well this week, but we all know things like this happen in golf. It remains doubtful that he’ll be able to consistently contend in tournaments moving forward.
Today: 9 birdies and 2 bogeys for a 7-under 65, tied for the best round of the day along with Patrick Reed. He went on a run of four birdies through holes 13-16 to seal the deal. Scores over four rounds: 70, 68, 67, 65 (270).
Phil Mickelson (-16) – This would have been Mickelson’s 43rd career PGA Tour win, fifth Pebble Beach National Pro-Am win and his first since the 2013 Open Championship. He’s a 4-time winner at this this event (1998, 2005, 2007, 2012). Mickelson currently has 9 European Tour wins under his belt. It will be very interesting to see whether his game and tweaked swing under new swing coach Andrew Gretson will be good enough to win this year. Can he finally secure the U.S. Open title and Career Grand Slam come June? I don’t think it’s completely out of the question.
Today: 4 birdies and 4 bogeys for an even-par 72. Scores over four rounds: 68, 65, 66, 72 (271). After making a clutch birdie on the par-3 17th, Mickelson failed to make a 5-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th that would have forced a playoff with Taylor.
Jonas Blixt (-15) – 31-year-old Blixt’s two wins on the PGA Tour came at the 2012 Frys.com Open and 2013 Greenbrier Classic. He has two top-5 results in majors (2013 PGA and 2014 Masters). During the 2015-2016 season he missed 6 cuts in a row from late October through mid January, but managed a T6 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open a couple of weeks later. He missed the cut at last year’s Pro-Am. He’s shown some consistency as of late, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue to ride the uptrend.
Today: 1 eagle, 3 birdies and 2 bogeys for a 3-under 69. Scores over four rounds: 67, 69, 67, 69 (272).