2005: PGA Tour - Double jackpot for Taylor
It’s usually not a good thing to defend your title at the Reno-Tahoe Open. For Vaughn Taylor, it ended up being just perfect.
Taylor – the first Reno champion to return to defend his crown in the event’s seven years – set a tournament record with a 21-under 267 total, giving him a three-stroke victory over Jonathan Kaye and the $540,000 top prize.
The previous five Reno winners have moved into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, qualifying them to enter the following year’s WGC-NEC Invitational in Akron, Ohio, which is played the same week as the Reno event. Taylor, however, entered the week at No. 130 in the OWGR, punching his ticket for Montreux Golf & Country Club instead of Firestone.
He took control with an 8-under Saturday round that included eight birdie putts – all from inside 10 feet.
Sunday wasn’t quite as exciting, but Taylor wasn’t complaining.
“Today was a pretty boring, uneventful round of golf, but I’m thrilled,” he said. “I never felt like it was mine. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m glad it’s over. I’m really proud to have won here twice.”
Taylor’s triumph boosted him from No. 86 to No. 45 on the PGA Tour money list with $1,204,228, moving the Augusta, Ga., native closer to his goal of playing in the Masters. This year’s top 40 money winners will qualify for the 2006 Masters.
Taylor led by six entering the final round and his lead never got below three, as he shot a conservative even-par 72 after opening with rounds of 64-67-64. He broke the tournament record by four strokes.
Reno native Todd Fischer, who lives next to the course, shot 70 to finish third at 17 under.
On Sunday, Taylor’s biggest putts were par saves, including a 5-footer on the opening hole where he drove into a fairway bunker.
He also made a 4-footer to save bogey after it took him two shots to get out of a greenside bunker on the par-4 sixth.
Kaye shot 67 Sunday but missed three birdie putts from within 15 feet on the last three holes.
“Eight shots is a lot to make up on this course, on any course when someone is playing as great as Vaughn was,” Kaye said.