Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Phil Mickelson upbeat despite being 'outplayed' by Nick Taylor
"I got outplayed. Nick just played better than I did and holed a couple of great shots like that eagle on six. He just really played some great golf"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 10/02/20 6:45am
Phil Mickelson has plenty of positives to take from his week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am despite losing out to a resolute Nick Taylor on the final day.
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Taylor answered everything Mickelson could throw at him on an entertaining front nine before the defending champion found himself five behind at the turn when he double-bogeyed the eighth and let another shot slip at the ninth.
The inward stretch became a war of attrition as the firm and fast course was buffeted by strengthening winds, and Taylor opened the door for the veteran left-hander when he dropped four shots in as many holes.
But Mickelson was unable to capitalise and Taylor regrouped to chip in for birdie at 15, and a classy two at the short 17th effectively sealed the title for the Canadian as he ran out a four-shot winner over Kevin Streelman, with Mickelson slipping to third after signing for a disappointing 74.
Taylor outlasts Mickelson at Pebble
Nick Taylor held off Phil Mickelson to land his first PGA Tour title in over five years with an impressive four-shot win
"I had a lot of fun having a chance to be in contention and having a chance to win," said Mickelson, who remains determined to stay competitive on the PGA Tour as he nears his 50th birthday in June. "It was fun to get back in it, and these last couple of weeks have really given me a lot of motivation and momentum to continue what I've been doing.
"It's disappointing certainly to have not won, but I got outplayed. I mean, Nick just played better than I did. He holed a couple of great shots like that eagle on six, and the putts he made on four, five and seven, and he just really played some great golf.
"I hit a couple of really good shots in bad spots and I had a couple of times where I just then didn't quite trust it and made some bad swings. But I fought hard, and I loved having a chance to be in it again. It's so fun being in the last group, and I'm hoping to continue to build on this.
"It was a hard day but I got outplayed, and I'm totally fine with that, and that I'm going to continue to get better and give myself more chances and I'm really excited about the rest of the year. There are a lot of positives that I take out of this."
Taylor, meanwhile, was understandably delighted to end a wait of over five years for his second PGA Tour title after he became the first Canadian to lead a tournament outright at the end of all four rounds.
The 31-year-old answered Mickelson's three early birdies with two of his own at four and five before he holed out from a greenside bunker for a thrilling eagle at the sixth, although he had to dig deep to recover from his awkward stretch of holes after the turn and admitted that chipping in for birdie at the 15th was a "massive" response to his double-bogey at 14.
"It was really, really difficult," he said. "The wind picked up towards the end of that front nine, and I was hanging on there, and a few poor drives that I didn't think were too bad but ended up in bad spots and just tried to manage my way from there.
"And the 14th is such a difficult hole, once I made double there I had to settle myself down and know that I still had a two-shot lead. And then obviously, to chip in on the next hole and get one shot back was massive.
"It was great to play with Phil, he was awesome all day, and our amateur partners were really fun. I felt like it was pretty relaxed, and I was probably more nervous before the round than when I was playing. I made a few putts early and that settled me down and it was nice to get off to a good start.
"You never know when that one break happens. I've had to battle for my card the last few years, I think some of those rounds to keep my card helped me today for sure. It was huge and it just gives me great confidence moving forward."