Vaughn Taylor, whose surprise win two weeks ago at Pebble Beach breathed new life into a slumbering career, heads the list of a half-dozen new commitments for this year’s RBC Heritage presented by Boeing.
Taylor was one of the last players into the Pebble Beach field, but made up a six-shot deficit to Phil Mickelson on the final day to emerge as the stunned victor when Mickelson lipped out a 5-foot birdie putt on the final hole.
“It’s been a long time. I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Taylor told reporters afterward.
The onetime Ryder Cup player had not held full PGA Tour playing status since 2012, but now sets his own schedule as a recent winner.
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Peter Malnati, who scored his first career win during the PGA Tour’s fall schedule, will join Taylor at Harbour Town along with Ben Crane, Jason Kokrak, South Korea’s Seung-Yul Noh and England’s Paul Casey.
They join a list of eight former Heritage champions, including five-time winner Davis Love III, who were early commitments to the event.
Heritage Week will begin April 11 with the traditional opening ceremony, with the first round set for April 14. Weeklong badges and daily tickets are available for purchase at RBCHeritage.com or by calling the tournament at 843-671-2448.
Not only was Taylor a late addition to the Pebble Beach field, he arrived weakened by a stomach bug he picked up at the Web.com Tour event in Colombia. But he found his strength by the weekend, shooting 67-65 over the final two days to move up the leaderboard.
Four consecutive birdies along Pebble Beach’s back nine pushed Taylor in front of the stalling Mickelson, capped by a hard-breaking 30-footer at No. 16 that sent him running around the green in celebration.
A playoff appeared imminent when Mickelson nearly found the green in two on the par-5 18th, then dribbled his pitch within 5 feet of the hole. His putt, however, spun out.
It was Taylor’s third PGA Tour victory, but his first against a decent field. The other two came at the Reno-Tahoe Open, when the top players were competing in a World Golf Championships event.
Taylor owns a pair of top-5 finishes at Harbour Town, tying for third in 2006 and sharing fourth a year later.