Planet Golf — 14 March 2014 by GW staff and news services
Senden holds on for Valspar victory

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — John Senden made two big birdies on a wild and windy Sunday at Innisbrook for a 1-under 70 to win the Valspar Championship.

The one-shot victory was Senden’s first on the PGA Tour in more than seven years and sends the 42-year-old Australian to the Masters next month.

Senden was tied for the lead when he chipped in from 70 feet on the 16th hole, and then followed that with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th. Equally important was a difficult putt from 40 feet that he hit to tap-in range for par on the 18th.

Kevin Na missed his birdie putt from about the same spot and shot 72 to finish one shot behind. Scott Langley, tied for the lead late in his round, had a 70 to finish third.

Recap John Senden birdied two of the last three holes to distance himself from a crowded leaderboard and win the Valspar Championship by one stroke over Kevin Na. Senden was tied for the lead after making bogey at the 15th hole, but he pitched in from 70 feet for an improbable birdie at the par-4 16th and then holed a 2 1/2–foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th that proved to be the winner. After shooting 3-over 39 on the front nine, Na was seemingly out of contention, but he battled back with birdies at the 14th and 17th holes. However, Na’s bid to send the tournament into a playoff ended when his 40-foot birdie putt missed low and left.

John Senden

— Wins his second career title on the PGA Tour in his 345th start and ends a victory drought of six years, eight months since triumphing at the 2006 John Deere Classic.

— After a pair of runner-up finishes at Innisbrook (2007, 2008), he wins the Valspar Championship in his 11th appearance in the event.

— He becomes the sixth different international player to win the Valspar Championship and the first Australian. Other international winners at Innisbrook include: K.J. Choi/South Korea (2002, 2006), Retief Goosen/South Africa (2003/2009), VijaySingh/Fiji (2004), Carl Pettersson/Sweden (2005), Luke Donald/England (2012).

— He becomes the second international player to win on the 2013-2014 PGA Tour and second Australian (Jason Day/WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship).

— At 42 years, 10 months, 24 days, he becomes the first player in his 40s to win this season and the event’s second-oldest winner (Mark Calcavecchia, 46 years, 8 months, 27 days, 2007).

— He earns exempt status through the 2015-‘16 PGA Tour Season.

— He earns 500 FedExCup points and moves from No. 83 into the top 20 in the current standings with 719 total FedEx Cup points on the season.

— He earns a spot into the following PGA Tour events: 2014 Masters, 2014 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, PGA Championship, 2015 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

— He becomes the sixth player in the event to come from behind after 54 holes to win, rallying from two strokes back.

— 2013-‘14 PGA Tour season previous starts-made cuts-top-10s-wins: 9-7-1-0. His previous-best finish was T4 at the 2013 McGladrey Classic.

— His 1-over 72 is the highest start by a winner on the 2013-2014 PGA Tour, surpassing Scott Stallings’ even-par 72 score in the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

Miscellaneous Notes:

— Senden’s winning total of 7-under-par 277 is the second highest winning score in Valspar Championship history. Only Sean O’Hair’s 4-under 280 total  in winning the 2008 event was higher.

— Senden’s 7-under score this week marked the third straight time there was a single-digit, under-par winner. Before today, the last time that three consecutive winners on the PGA TOUR (not including majors or opposite events) were single digits under par was 1990: Payne Stewart/GTE Byron Nelson Classic (-8), Greg Norman/The Memorial (even), and Ben Crenshaw/Southwestern Bell Colonial (-8). The last time there were three consecutive single-digit, under-par winners on the PGA Tour was in 2012: Tiger Woods/The Memorial (-9), Dustin Johnson/FedEx St. Jude Classic (-9), Webb Simpson/U.S. Open (+1).

— Kevin Na’s runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship was his best performance since his victory at the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Na started the 2013-2014 PGA TOUR season with a T3 at the Open and was also T4 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

— Scott Langley’s third-place effort at the Valspar Championship matched his career-best effort on the PGA Tour (T3 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii) and earned him a spot in the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio in two weeks.

s T4 today was his fourth consecutive finish among the top six on the Copperhead Course. In addition to winning the 2012 event, Donald was sixth in 2010 and fourth last year. He did not play in the 2011 event.


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