John Senden last man standing at Valspar
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Valspar Championship | Wrap | 17 Mar 2014
John Senden is a PGA Tour winner again, essentially becoming the last man standing over a tough Copperhead layout and under windy final day conditions at the Innisbrook Resort at Palm Harbor near Tampa in West Florida.
Senden won the Valspar Championship by one shot over Kevin Na with another shot back to second season player, Scott Langley, on a day where perhaps as many as six players were still winning chances during the last hour of play.
For Senden it was a continuation of his love affair with the Copperhead layout having been twice runner-up in earlier years.
Senden, whose previous and only other PGA Tour victory came more than seven years ago at the 2006 John Deere Classic, took the lead when he birdied two holes early and, with the overnight leader, Robert Garrigus, haemorrhaging in the early stages of his round, the Queenslander appeared well placed to finally win again.
Although he bogeyed the 7th Senden was still in charge until bogies at the 12th and 13th brought him back to the field.
Crucial moments however would come for Senden at the 16th where although he drove it into the trees and was just short with his approach he pitched in from 25 metres for birdie then holed an 18 foot birdie putt at the 17th to move clear again.
Others had their chances and it would be Na, playing in the final group, who emerged as Senden’s one remaining threat. Na struggled through the front nine but got things back on track when he birdied the 14th and 17th holes to draw within one.
As Senden waited his fate, Na found the back of the green at the last and from 35 feet could only two putt and Senden was the winner.
Not only does Senden win his second PGA Tour title and the accompanying US$1,026,000, he now has a start at the Masters in three weeks time and the victory will move him to around 60th in the world ranking from his current 124th.
“I just like the way the course flows amongst the trees and just the difficulty of it,” said Senden soon after his victory had been confirmed. “The scores always stay under the double figures and I felt if I could just stay in the moment I knew I was swinging it well enough to give it a shake.”
Senden is guaranteed starts in three majors this year as he earned a start at the Open Championship via his 3rd place finish at the Australian Open and his world ranking will ensure he plays the PGA Championship.
Robert Allenby was the next best Australian in 32nd position.