It wasn’t a stellar field at The Valspar Championship on Sunday afternoon, but The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort did provide fans with a finish that was every bit as exciting as Doral last week. 42 year-old Aussie, John Senden took advantage of a meltdown by 54 hole leader Robert Garrigus to get the second win of his PGA Tour career, and first since 2006. It was the third event on the Florida Swing where the winner posted a single digit score.
John Senden made his move on Saturday in pristine conditions when he fired a -7 under par 64 to get in position for the win. With some help from a strong Southwest wind, and a three over 75 from 54-hole leader, Robert Garrigus gave the Aussie the chance he needed to get a much-needed win. Senden got close at the Australian open back in December but was edged out by Adam Scott, and winner, Rory McIlroy.
The key to Senden’s victory on Sunday afternoon was the Snake Pit. Birdies at 16, and 17 put him over the top, and in the winners circle. A double bogey at 16 on Friday was his only blemish for the week in the Snake Pit. He was two under par in the final round
On the bright side, he was feeling healthy for the first time in more than a year, when a rib injury eventually led to a wrist injury from overcompensation. And a short game that had been a weakness was starting to come around.
On Saturday, Senden drained three putts of 30 feet or more in a 7-under 64 to put him squarely in the final-round mix. Then came Sunday’s heroics — a chip-in birdie at No. 16, the toughest hole on Innisbrook’s Copperhead layout, followed by a 21-foot birdie putt at No. 17.
“What a great finish,” said Scott Langley, who finished two shots back in third. “To play those three holes in 2 under on Sunday to win, you’ve got to hand it to him.”
Playing in the final group with Garrigus, Kevin Na had an opportunity to tie the score at the 18th hole, and faced the same 35 foot put that Senden had almost made minutes before. Na’s putt missed wide left, and he was unable to force a playoff. Kevin Na played well on Sunday, and finished one stroke back at -6 under par with sole possession of second place.
Senden’s only win on the PGA Tour was the 2006 John Deere Classic, and followed it five months later with the win in Australia beating Geoff Olgivy. The win at Innisbrook on Sunday not only provided a nice purse for his bank account, but 500 FedEx Cup points that puts him in 14th place in the standings, and an invitation to Augusta next month.
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