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Cinderella Story at Pebble Beach F


orgive Vaughn Taylor for perhaps thinking that the clock was near- ing midnight. Entering this year’s


AT&T Pebble Beach Pro- Am, the 39-year-old had gone over 10 years since his last win and hadn’t had a PGA Tour card since 2012. He was ranked No.447 in the world and didn’t even have status on the Web.com Tour. “2015 was a tough


year to swallow. I played well and put myself in position a lot of times to get my card but I didn’t get it done, over and over. It was driving me crazy,” said Taylor, whose tribulations also included surviving a boating accident. Sunday at Pebble, however, Taylor became golf ’s revenant.


President’s Day Weekend to Remember


T


eeing off with Phil Mickelson in the final group on Sunday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am? NCGA president John Ronca did it. While his


pro partner, Hiroshi Iwata, was chasing the professional title, the two were also in the hunt for the Pro-Am crown before finishing T-5. Ronca closed his memorable weekend by


sinking his par putt on the 18th. All of it occur- ring with the CBS cameras rolling.


Having entered the final round six shots behind four-time AT&T champion Phil Mickelson, the Cinderella Taylor ran off four straight birdies on holes 13-16 for a back-nine 5-under 31 and total of 17-under 270. Mickelson, who was aiming to tie Mark O’Meara’s record of five AT&T wins, had a chance


to force a playoff with Taylor after nearly reaching the 18th in two. But the Hall of Famer watched his short birdie putt lip out, leav- ing him one behind the champion.


“Just absolutely amazing. Vaughn Taylor


I didn’t know if it would ever happen again,” said Taylor,


who earned a trip to the Masters in his hometown of Augusta, GA. “I’m so thankful. I’m in disbelief. It was just magical out there.”


–J.S. “You don’t get this opportunity but one


time in your life,” Ronca said. “Phil was great, and Hiroshi is such an outstanding young man.” Iwata, who finished T-4, returned a tip of


the cap to Ronca. “Without John, I’m maybe not on top of the


leaderboard. He was the best partner,” Iwata said. The only NCGA President to win the Pro-Am is


the late Charles Seaver in 1964. Seaver, however, would not become NCGA President until 1980. Other NCGA Presidents to make the cut are


Lon Haskew (2002), Kerry Gordon (2007) and Vaughn Kezirian (2009).


–J.S.


NCGA President John Ronca


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