Charl Schwartzel looks back to his best with another victory, an amateur finished in the top five and Ian Poulter could miss out on the WGC-Dell Matchplay.
Charl Schwartzel began the final round of the Valspar Championship five shots behind 54-hole leader Bill Haas, but the South African carded an impressive closing 67 to set a clubhouse target of 277.
Schwartzel holed a long putt on the 13th for birdie and made further gains at the 14th and 17th holes.
Haas was still in front with three to play but was having to scramble to stay there. He was unable to save par on the 16th though and two closing pars meant he too ended 72 holes on 277.
The first hole of the resulting playoff was the 18th at Innisbrook and Haas made it easy for Schwartzel as he fired into the trees from the tee and then to the greenside bunker with his approach. Schwartzel found the green in regulation and, with Haas unable to get up-and-down, the South African two-putted for victory.
3 Talking points from the Valspar Championship
1 – This was a third victory for Schwartzel in his last six starts worldwide. He won the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Tshwane Open on the European Tour. The South African has climbed to 21st on the Official World Golf Ranking. As the year’s first Major approaches, Schwartzel’s chances are looking good. The 2011 Masters champion could be a good bet for Augusta this April.
2 – Lee McCoy, a senior at the University of Georgia, gained a start at Innisbrook on a sponsor’s invitation. Playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round, he carded a closing 69 (just he and Schwartzel broke par in the last nine groups out on Sunday) to finish alone in fourth. It would have earned him $292,800 if he were a professional and it was the best finish by an amateur in a PGA Tour sanctioned event since Justin Rose finished tied fourth in The Open Championship of 1998.
Jordan Spieth struggled in the final round and carded a 73 to finish the week in 18th place.
Jordan Spieth swing sequence:
3 – Ian Poulter struggled over the weekend with a pair of 75s. The Englishman finished the week in a tie for 67th and that has dropped him to 67th place on the Official World Golf Ranking. With the top-64 qualifying for the WGC-Dell Match Play, Poulter could well miss out by a single spot (Henrik Stenson and Jim Furyk are not playing.)
Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor, Florida
Purse $6,100,000, par 71
1 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 71 70 69 67 277 $1,098,000
2 Bill Haas (USA) 71 67 67 72 277 $658,800
3 Ryan Moore (USA) 70 69 69 71 279 $414,800
4 Lee McCoy (USA) 74 71 66 69 280 amateur
T5 Graham DeLaet (Can) 72 66 68 75 281 $268,400
T5 Charles Howell III (USA) 67 72 70 72 281 $268,400
T7 Scott Brown (USA) 70 69 72 71 282 $197,488
T7 Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 72 70 70 70 282 $197,488
T7 Patrick Reed (USA) 71 70 68 73 282 $197,488
T7 Steve Stricker (USA) 71 66 72 73 282 $197,488
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage