After toiling on the Hooters Tour since 1999, Vaughn Taylor has earned a promotion.
With two straight second-place finishes in the past two Nationwide Tour tournaments, Taylor was given "special temporary (conditional) status" for the rest of the season on the tour, because he passed the No. 70 spot on the 2002 money list.
The 27-year-old Taylor has earned $92,600 in his brief stint on the developmental tour and is ninth on the money list.
He is entered in this week's Henrico County Open, which begins Thursday at The Dominion Club in Richmond, Va. Each round of the tournament will be broadcast on The Golf Channel from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Having conditional status means Taylor will not have to Monday qualify to get into any more Nationwide Tour events this year. He is not, however, exempt for two regular-season events - the LaSalle Bank Open (June 5-8) and the Albertsons Boise Open (Sept. 18-21).
Taylor's mother, Lynn, said that tour officials are trying to line up a sponsor's exemption for the LaSalle Bank Open.
More good news for Taylor: the PGA Tour is on the horizon. The top 20 golfers on the Nationwide Tour money list, after the Nationwide Tour Championship on Nov. 2, automatically earn a PGA Tour card for the 2004 season.
If he wins an event on the Nationwide Tour, Taylor will earn fully-exempt status for the remainder of this year and for the 2004 season. Three wins will qualify him for a "battlefield promotion," meaning he would automatically leap to the PGA Tour.
The former Augusta State golfer blazed a trail to the top of the Hooters Tour money list this season. In seven events, he accumulated more than $52,000 with a win, two second-place showings and two third-place finishes.
Taylor made his way onto the Nationwide Tour, winning the Monday qualifier to earn a spot in the Virginia Beach Open. He went on to finish in second place in the May 18 event, two shots behind champion Michael Long.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, ext. 114.