Taylor should be worth the wait

Canadian Nick Taylor had a hole in one yesterday at Canadian Tour Championship at the Scarboro Golf...

Canadian Nick Taylor had a hole in one yesterday at Canadian Tour Championship at the Scarboro Golf and Country Club yesterday

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

With Mike Weir in an injury-related tailspin and Graham DeLaet and David Hearn in the clutches of mediocrity on the PGA Tour, Canadian golf fans are awaiting the arrival of the next one.

Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., is one of the leading candidates.

Taylor, 23, is attempting to smooth out the wrinkles in his game in his second season as a pro but his pedigree from his time at the University of Washington more than suggests that he could be the one to fit the bill.

Reaching for the top and gaining a firm grip on the goals he set has been something that Taylor has been able to achieve with stunning regularity.

At 18 he was the Canadian junior champion and the following year he was the Canadian men’s amateur champion.

Taylor followed up that promise with a scholarship at the University of Washington where he was a three-time All-American and in 2010 he was crowned as the United States college player of the year.

Take that Tiger.

This week Taylor is grinding it out in the $100,000 Canadian Tour Championship at the beautiful Scarboro Golf and Country Club and following a three-under-par 68 on Saturday he is three under for the tournament and seven shots back of the co-leaders, Vancouver’s Eugene Wong and Trey Denton of Madison, Miss.

“Three under, it’s a little better today,” Taylor said of Saturday’s round. “I got off to a really good start then kind of got some momentum killed with some three-putts. Struggled after that then I got a hole in one (No. 14) and a couple of birdies. I got an eagle there and then a couple of birdies so I got some mojo going.

“It was frustrating in the middle, but with the finish it feels better but overall it could have been a lot better today.”

With his success in junior golf and as an amateur followed by his stellar years at Washington, Taylor kept setting the bar higher, both for himself and for Canada’s frustrated golf fans. When you are rated as the top player in the NCAA, there comes pressure to succeed once you turn pro.

Taylor certainly felt it.

“Oh yeah, I would say that probably both Matt Hill (of Sarnia who was a top collegiate player at North Carolina State who is the CanTour money leader) and I felt it,” Taylor said of the pressure that comes with success “Not a whole lot but maybe more than people would think.

“Speaking for myself, I felt like I’ve struggled the last couple of years. Even the tail end of college I wasn’t playing my best. I could feel it. I felt like I’ve started to get it back this year.

“So yeah, there’s pressure but I wouldn’t say that’s why I’ve been struggling a little bit. It’s just kind of my game wasn’t where it needs to be. It takes time, I just need to be patient and it will come.”

If there is pressure for Taylor to succeed coming from the outside it doesn’t equal the expectations he has placed on himself.

“Going in, every year I kind of reassess my goals,” he said. “Going into college I didn’t know what to expect. I was a good junior but that was in Canada, I didn’t play much in the U.S. So I kind of wanted to make the team, wanted to travel all the time, make the post-season kind of stuff. I had some good tournaments but still struggled my first year.

“The second year I started to play a little better. After some good finishes I wanted to win. Then that kind of happened my third year. Once I started playing well my third year, I kind of reassessed it and obviously wanted to be the best.

“For me, it’s kind of reaching each level and trying to get to the next one which is kind of where I am right now too.”

With nine players within three shots of the lead, Wong, who shot 68 on Saturday, is well aware that there’s plenty of golf yet to be played.

“The field is really tightly packed right now,” he said. “I’m not going to think about the leaders and just focus on what I’m doing.

“There’s going to be some pressure out there. I know I’m going to feel it. I know I’ll need to take a few deep breaths but I’m excited for tomorrow.”

So, too, is Denton.

“I love it here,” said Denton after his four-under par 67. “I’ve got a lot of solid thoughts going into tomorrow and I’m looking forward to finishing it off hopefully this time.”

Sunday won’t be Taylor’s time but it’s coming. On that there is little doubt.

An ace always helps

It was moving day at the Canadian Tour Championship and Nick Taylor was moving in reverse.

Back-to-back bogeys on No. 12 and 13 had shuffled Taylor to one-over par for both the day and the tournament.

Standing on the tee of the par three 13th, a hole that measures 212 yards, Taylor knew it was time to put the pedal to the metal, time to roll the dice and not take the safe route to the middle of the green.

Taylor instead went flag hunting and the native of Abbotsford, B.C., was rewarded by seeing his shot roll into the cup for a hole in one.

“It was a seven iron, the pin was kind of tucked left,” Taylor said. “I had bogeyed the two holes previous so I just fired straight at it and luckily it went in.”

Was their a little anger, a little frustration in the shot.

“Yeah, I was frustrated for sure,” Taylor added. “I was one over, one over for the tournament so I had to make something happen. So luckily enough it went in. It’s not going to happen all the time. I just fired at it and was lucky enough that it went in.”

 

 

 


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