CASEY AND TAMPA BAY ARE WINNERS FROM 2018 VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP

19 Sep

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Paul Casey, winner of 13 European Tour events and a three-time Ryder Cup participant, shot a final round 65 to climb back from five shots off the pace and win the 2018 Valspar Championship. His 274 total of 10 under par was one ahead of Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed. The victory vaulted Casey to 12th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

“It just was a great week,” said the 40-year-old Englishman afterwards. “The buzz, everything about it, the roars, the course. I loved it. As soon as I turned up (here this week), I had a good feeling and obviously I’ll be back next year. But it’s one tournament I now will probably have on the schedule forever.”

The Tampa Bay area, particularly some of the local charities, were also big winners. With attendance up to 150,000 from 112,000 in 2017 (up 34%), the Valspar Championship expects to announce charitable contributions of more than $2.5 million later this year.

The tournament was of course energized by the appearance of Woods, the PGA TOUR’s all-time money winner, who sent out the following tweet on Sunday night.

“We have so many people and things to be thankful for,” says Tournament Director Tracy West. “First, to the golf fans of the Tampa Bay area. They came out in great numbers, they understood the situation and they were respectful and supportive of all the golfers. We had a lot of challenges to get ready for so many more patrons and our tournament staff and volunteers did a great job. We think our operations got better every day and from what we hear the vast majority of our fans had a great time. The result of all of it should be a substantial improvement in our final amount of money generated for charity which we will announce in a couple of months.”

The 2018 Valspar Championship was a great showcase for the Tampa Bay area. The 5.1 rating received by NBC for Sunday’s coverage was the best for any non-Masters golf event since the 2015 PGA Championship.

COLOR SHOTS: A total of 1,212 birdies were made in the tournament, setting the number for donations for the tournament’s Birdies for Tampa Bay Charities program…Casey only missed three putts all day in fashioning his closing 65…Casey is the 9th international winner of the Valspar Championship, third in a row and second (also Luke Donald) from England…Sergio Garcia, in his final event before becoming a father for the first time, joined Casey in shooting 65 in the final round and finished 4th…Casey tied Charl Schwartzel’s 2016 record by winning despite trailing by five shots after the third round…Brian Gay now holds the tournament record by playing in the Valspar Championship 17 times, while Charles Howell III now has the mark with 12 cuts made…Jim Furyk equaled a tournament record with his 4th finish in the top 10….Defending champion Adam Hadwin tied for 12th, his third straight top 12 finish this year…The tournament went without a hole in one for the third straight year…Sean O’Hair had the only eagle on a par four this week, the fifth in tournament history on the 6th hole.

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