The annual Valspar Championship held in Palm Harbor, Fla., at Innisbrook Resort featured many familiar faces, but the champion, Taylor Moore emerged victorious for the first time in his PGA career.
This year's purse, $8.1 million, increased by $300,000 since last year’s tournament, and the winner, Taylor Moore, walked away with $1,458,000 and a ticket to this year’s Masters Tournament.
Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Thomas all finished in the top 10 of the tournament, but Taylor Moore was not on many’s radars, entering the tournament with +5000 odds to win it all.
“I might have been under the radar to some people watching, but I felt like I was in the golf tournament from the time I teed off today and was just excited to control what I could control and get it done,” Moore said.
Moore shot par on the first day of the tournament but went to work the next day finishing four-under-par, and the rest is history.
Fellow American, Adam Schen, kept the pressure on Moore for the entire 4-day-long tournament, finishing just one stroke behind thanks to a shanked tee shot on the very last hole of the weekend.
Jordan Spieth, the winner of the 2015 Valspar Championship, entered the tournament’s final day as a +280 favorite to take the trophy home in his quest for his 14th PGA championship.
The toe-to-toe competition came down to the wire with Spieth sending his 16th tee shot into the water and Schenk’s final tee shot landing in front of a large pine tree.
Spieth, looking to wrap up the tournament with a par putt to earn points toward the FedEx Cup and tie for second, bogeyed and finished tied with Fleetwood for third, earning $477,900.
Fleetwood, involved in a three-way tie for first in the back nine of the final day, landed tied with Spieth for third thanks to a bogey putt on the 590-yard par-5 14th hole.
Moore’s final four holes proved to be the deciding factor, hitting a birdie on the 15th and 16th hole back-to-back, and wrapping up with two final pars, finishing the day at (-10).
Moore’s victory moved him to number nine in the FedEx Cup standings, and earned him an invite to the pinnacle of golf, the Masters Tournament and an official PGA Championship tour badge. Not too shabby for the 29-year-old Texas native.
Owen Gelber is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org