Taylor Moore claims first PGA title at Valspar Championship
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[March 20, 2023]
After his two chief competitors missed must-have putts at the
72nd hole, Taylor Moore was the last man standing at the Valspar
Championship and won his first PGA Tour title on Sunday in Palm
Moore shot a 4-under 67 in the final round to finish at 10-under
274. He beat Adam Schenk (70 Sunday) by one shot and Jordan Spieth
(70) and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (70) by two.
"(I was) just in compete mode, and watching the guys finish -- maybe
in a playoff, maybe not," Moore told the NBC broadcast. "But it's so
cool. It's so awesome. It's what I worked for."
The 29-year-old Moore recovered from a wayward tee shot at the par-4
18th at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course and saved a 5 1/2-foot
par. That made him the leader in the clubhouse while Schenk and
Spieth were finishing up behind him.
Schenk was tied with Moore at 10 under but also drove left at No.
18. Spieth was 9 under at the time and needed a birdie and a Schenk
par or worse to join a playoff.
But after Schenk laid up, both Schenk and Spieth landed their
approach shots short of the pin and on the wrong side of a slope in
the green, their balls rolling back and off to the side.
Spieth's 51-foot birdie putt to tie Moore missed, and he flubbed his
4-foot par comebacker. Schenk hammered his par putt from 47 feet,
and he had the right line but it was rolling too fast and it glanced
off the cup and the pin.
"Second place being my best finish ever, I haven't had a ton of top
10s on the PGA Tour," Schenk said. "So, I mean, I want to close one
out some day, but how many chances am I going to have, so (I
thought) I'm not leaving this putt short. I'm getting it to the
hole. I did and it was on line. It would have been amazing if it
went in, but luckily, it hit the pin or else I would have been
another 4, 5 feet behind."
On a day when only seven players broke 70, Moore shot his second
round of 67 of the week. He began the day two off Schenk's lead but
made five birdies -- three on the back nine -- and just one bogey.
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Moore's previous best finish in a non-team event on
tour was a T5 at last August's Wyndham Championship.
"I really wasn't worried about everybody else with how tricky this
place is. I was just really trying to focus on me and my
conversations with my caddie and what I was doing. 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."
Schenk made four birdies and three bogeys on the
day. He converted crucial par saves down the stretch before the
fateful bogey at the last.
Spieth, the 2015 Valspar winner, had three birdies and no bogeys
through 15 holes. He survived a bad drive at the par-4 sixth by
saving par, and he made a stellar up-and-down from the greenside
bunker at the par-3 15th, placing his second shot inside 3 feet of
But then Spieth struck his drive into the water at the par-4 16th
and had to take a drop far behind the start of the fairway. He
managed to sink a bogey putt from nearly 15 feet to fall to 9 under,
minimizing the damage and staying in contention.
"I made two bad swings today. I got away with the one on 6 and I
didn't get away with the one on 16," Spieth said. "Fought hard from
there and made a nice bogey and then a nice couple shots on the last
couple, and that 18th pin is just brutal there. You just can't rely
on having to birdie that hole to that pin."
Wyndham Clark shot 70 finished fifth at 6-under 278, and two-time
defending champion Sam Burns posted a 67, his best round of the
week, to take sixth place at 5-under 279.
--Field Level Media
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