A Victory Taylor-made For Canada
By Torleif Sorenson on 11/10/14
John Rollins has not had much fun on the PGA Tour over the last couple of years and was playing the Sanderson Farms Championship on conditional status this past weekend. That's when things started looking up.
After Friday's second round, Rollins was tied for the lead with the well-known David Toms. After Saturday, the 39-year-old Rollins held a two-shot lead over William McGirt, with Jason Bohn and 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover tied for third place.
But also lurking in the bunch was Nick Taylor, who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and grew up learning the game at Ledgeview Golf & Country Club in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Most of us had never heard of Taylor, but in 2009, he was the number-one-ranked amateur golfer in the world. After turning professional, Taylor cut his teeth on the Web.com Tour and PGA Tour Canada, but struggled with his game along the way. As the astute Canadian golf writer Ian Hutchinson explains, Taylor was still wrestling with the putter this past summer, even missing seven of eight tournament cuts between May and mid-July. And yet Taylor gained his PGA Tour card courtesy of a T-21 finish at the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Wasting no time whatsoever, he plunged right into the 2015 PGA Tour's "A block" of tournaments. The Sanderson Farms Championship was only Taylor's fourth start on the big circuit.
All of this violently changed on Sunday when Taylor followed up rounds of 67, 69, and 70 with a stunning Sunday 66 and captured the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi's capital city.
Taylor's putting woes also seem to be over for now; he sank seven putts from outside ten feet on Sunday. In fact, three of those seven were from outside 20 feet.
How confident and excited is the 26-year-old Canadian?
"This morning I was looking at the PGA TOUR schedule and now that I can choose my schedule, I think is the biggest thing that is going to have to sink in. I want to play every event on Tour; you're going to have to get a leash on me to hold myself back so I don't wear myself out."
And despite the fact that the National Hockey League season is in full swing, reaction up in Canada was both swift and loud:
Taylor is the first Canadian to win on the PGA Tour since Mike Weir won the Fry's Open in 2007 — and he is the first Canadian to win since the Florida-based PGA Tour began managing its Canadian counterpart.
Undoubtedly "with glowing hearts," golfers and golf fans in Canada are celebrating Nick Taylor's victory and hoping that this is just the first of many.
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