Moore delivers a surprise, Spieth tops Innisbrook’s Schenk
Palm Harbor, Florida. (AP) — Taylor Moore threw clutch shots to move into contention, shutting out a 4-under 67 and winning the Valspar Championship Sunday when he avoided the misses that cost Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenck.
In just his second year on the PGA Tour, the 29-year-old who grew up outside of Oklahoma City is now headed to next month’s Masters tournament.
He was on the training range preparing for the play-off and missed a wild finish at the Copperhead Stadium in Innsbruck.
Spieth tied for the lead when he sent his tee into the water on the 16th and managed to stay in the game by going up and down from 163 yards to save bogey. In the third and thirteenth round, which yielded only two birdies all day, Spieth hit a 4-iron to a 6-foot putt—only to miss a birdie putt.
The real heartbreak was for Schenck, whose wife flew to Florida for the last round a month before she was due to give birth to their first child. Schenk holed a 70-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole. He made tough saves on the 16th and 17th holes to stay tied.
However, on the 18th, it pulled its top to the left. It was roughly the same line where Moore had hit his shot earlier, only Schenk’s ball rolled across the fair and stopped by a pine tree.
His only shot was an inverted gaping hit with a left-handed wedge, which was remarkable, as he shot through the rough fairway. His third shot came just short of the ridge and rolled onto the sideline 40 feet away. She hit a ground ball to force a playoff into the hole, but had too much speed and a jump.
Schenk, who is playing for the 10th week in a row so he can take time off when his son is born, closed out with a score of 70.
Spieth was as entertaining as ever. He made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th to regain a share of the lead with Schenck. But his worst swing of the day came at the worst time, the 16th hole with water down the right-hand side.
Spieth made a 15-foot bogey putt, only to miss a great birdie putt on the next hole—nobody had hit it closer than his putt all day—and then missed his close by about 18 feet to get to the top rack for a good birdie look. He missed a tie for 18th place that was worth FedEx Cup points and money, and he hit 70 and tied Tommy Fleetwood for third.
Fleetwood (70) also had a share of the lead in the linebacker nine. It was his turn to back off the 5th hole by the 14th when he went for the green in two. He pulled it to the left and grabbed a monstrous lie in the sand slope. He could only get that far ahead in the big dugout, and he exploded to about 15 feet and missed the putt. He did not catch up again.
No one was paying so much attention to Moore until the 29-year-old who played for Arkansas started to bring in one quality after another. He stuffed his approach to two feet on No. 12 for a small bird.
He effectively won the tournament with one big and one great stroke. On the third inning 15, he hit the back right pin to 6 feet and made a birdie to take one shot off the lead. Then he drilled a 25-foot birdie into No. 16 to join Schenck in the lead.
Moore got even with a long putt from the bunker in the 17th, and blasted off 70 feet from the green in the 18th to finish at 10-under 274.
Then he won while warming up on the field for a playoff that never happened.
Moore’s win was worth $1,458,000 and moved him to number one. 9 in the FedEx Cup standings. Along with a trip he probably didn’t expect to the Masters, he won a PGA Championship. moved from no. 103 among the top 50 in the world.
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