Teeing off - Vaughn Taylor

Michael Holahan/Staff
Vaughn Taylor will make his second start in the Masters Tournament this year. He missed the cut last year.

Without winning a PGA Tour event as he did in 2004 and '05, Taylor's profile grew significantly with his appearance in the Ryder Cup and debuts in the Masters Tournament and British Open.


His "career" season ended on a high note, with Taylor rallying on the final nine holes in the Chrysler Championship of Tampa to shoot 30 with only 10 putts, securing a top-40 money finish and a return qualification to his hometown major.

"It was a big day for me," Taylor said of earning his second Masters invitation. "I knew I had to play good that day and a middle of the pack finish wasn't going to do it. I didn't want to have to wait 'til next year to get my world ranking up or doing the money list thing, so it was a big relief to get it out of the way there. Even though I had a good year this year I wanted to achieve that goal again.

"It definitely wouldn't have been good to sit on that over the winter time."

Taylor's hectic 2006 took a toll, and he needed the off-season to regroup before starting 2007 in the desert at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

"A lot going on this year compared to previous years," Taylor said. "It wore me down. Just trying to save some energy. Trying to relax and get away from the game a little bit and get recharged."

Taylor's game is hitting stride statistically. He ranked No. 2 in putting average, the best of any American or top-40 player. He ranked first in bounce back (making birdies after bogeys), eighth in birdie average, 13th all-around, 14th in sand save percentage, 15th in top-10 finishes, 31st in scoring average and 35th on the money list.

His putting prowess sets him up to improve even more in other areas such as total driving (130th) and greens in regulation (134th).

"Kind of got to a point where I don't have to work on much anymore," he said of his putting. "It definitely looks good for the future. Hope I can get my ball-striking stats up just a little bit and still putt just as well."


AGE: 30


HIGH SCHOOL: Hephzibah

COLLEGE: Augusta State

TOUR: PGA (4th year)

EXEMPT STATUS: 2005 tournament winner


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