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Nick Taylor
The Roundup

Taylor enjoying Pebble dash

by Matt Cooper
Updated On: February 7, 2020, 10:34 pm ET

Recap of the day

Pebble Beach: Nick Taylor kept his foot on the gas, adding a 66 on the host course to total 14-under 129, worthy of a two-shot tournament lead. He’s being chased by Jason Day, who smoked a Friday 64. Chris Baker (64) and Charl Schwartzel (66) are T4 as this third of the tee times take control of the leaderboard.

Spyglass Hill: 13 players are T8 or better and only one of them, Matt Every, played this track in the second round. His 66 has him part of the six-way tie for eighth.

Monterey Peninsula: Phil Mickelson is alone in third on 11-under 132 after a second round 64. Behind him is another tournament specialist Dustin Johnson (65).

Scoring Average by Course
MPCC = -0.83, -1.98 (-1.40 thru 36)
Pebble = -0.87, -0.08 (-0.46 thru 36)
Spyglass = -0.06, +0.67 (+0.30 thru 36)

Leaderboard: -14 Nick Taylor, -12 Jason Day, -11 Phil Mickelson, -10 Chris Baker, Charl Schwartzel

Notables: -9 Dustin Johnson, -8 Patrick Cantlay, -7 Paul Casey, -5 Viktor Hovland, -3 Brandt Snedeker, -2 Jordan Spieth


Revised outright betting

Day 4/1, Johnson 5/1, Taylor 11/2, Mickelson 11/2, Cantlay 11/1, Schwartzel 25/1


Saturday weather forecast

After two days when the field could attack the course, Saturday offers a little edge. It will remain sunny and with temperatures in the low 50s, but the wind, which has been just under 10 mph all week, will now close on 20 mph.


Leaders at 36 holes

Nick Taylor (66) – He’s found 30-of-36 greens in regulation (T4) and has needed just 1.600 putts when he has done so (8th).

Jason Day (64) – His frankly absurd tournament record has to loom large. In ten previous visits he has landed six finishes of T6 or better and in finding 31-of-35 greens in regulation for the week he ranks T2 in the field.

Phil Mickelson (64) – A remarkable run continues in this event. In the 21st century he owns eight top three finishes from 19 starts. Needed just 1.273 putts per GIR on Friday.


Fate of the favorites

Dustin Johnson took on Monterey Peninsula and was perfect until his last hole bogey cost him a share of fourth. His 65 leaves him T6 on 9-under. Patrick Cantlay was 3-under-par through his first nine on the same course, but stalled, making eight second nine pars before following Johnson in making a 36th hole bogey. He’s 8-under for the week. Paul Casey weighed in with seven birdies before he closed with a 17th hole bogey on his way to a 65 for a 7-under 136 total.


Road to victory at Pebble Beach

2019 Phil Mickelson – R1: 3rd, R2: 1st, R3: 2nd

2018 Ted Potter, Jr. – R1: 24th, R2: 35th, R3: 1st

2017 Jordan Spieth – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st

2016 Vaughn Taylor – R1: 48th, R2: 18th, R3: 8th

2015 Brandt Snedeker – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 2nd

Notes: Of the 20 winners in the 21st century 12 were T2 or better at this stage. However, five of the winners were outside the top ten and two of them (Davis Love III in 2001 and Ted Potter, Jr. two years ago) outside the top 30.


Fate of the halfway leaders at Pebble Beach – where did they finish?

2019 Phil Mickelson 1st, Paul Casey 2nd, Scott Langley 6th, Lucas Glover 7th

2018 Dustin Johnson 2nd

2017 Jordan Spieth 1st, Jason Day 5th

2016 Hiroshi Iwata 4th, Sung Hoon Kang 17th

2015 Brandt Snedeker 1st, Matt Jones 7th

Notes: In all 32 players have held or shared a 36-hole lead in this tournament and seven have completed the win. In the last six tournaments only one of 12 men in this position ended the week outside the top ten.


Focus on – Baker’s Dozen

This is Chris Baker’s 12th start on the PGA Tour: Once in 2016 and ten times this season prior to this week. In that time he has made three cuts and never made a top 25. But, in one sense at least, his sparking Friday round might have been coming. How so? Well, it’s because four of his last six second rounds have been sub-70. He’ll want to keep the foot down at the weekend, however, and hopefully crack a first top 20 in style.


Focus on – Kevin Stadler

Tough times for the Baby Walrus, who has an intriguingly eclectic roster of wins that includes the 2005 Abierto Visa de la Republica in Argentina (a Challenge Tour co-sanctioned event at the time), the 2006 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia (European Tour), four Web.com Tour victories in 2004 and 2006, and victory in the 2014 Phoenix Open. Shortly after that latter result, however, his career was being ruined by injury. He has now played 14 consecutive PGA Tour starts and failed to make a cut (three tournament in 2015, three in 2018, eight this season). In that time he has gone sub-70 just once in 29 laps and this week is set to maintain that sad trend. He’s T154 having carded 77-76.


Focus on – Chez Reavie

It’s been a terrible start to the season for a man who was fifth in last year’s Tour Championship, going ten starts without one top 20. But has he found the perfect location to end such a run? He contended here in 2016, was second in 2018 and last June he was third at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open. Rounds of 67-69 have him T14 and ready to break his 2020 top 20 duck.