Schwartzel Wins!

14 Mar

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Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, returned to the PGA TOUR victory circle when he defeated Bill Haas in a one-hole playoff to win the 2016 Valspar Championship presented by BB&T. The duo had tied at 7-under par in regulation with Schwartzel winning with a par on the 18th hole after Haas was unable to save par from the bunker.

Schwartzel joined Retief Goosen (2003 & ’09) as the second South African to win the Valspar Championship. He started the day five shots behind Haas but caught him with a 67 to the third-round leader’s 72.

Haas never trailed during his round, but fell into a tie with Schwartzel when he bogeyed the 16th hole.

Schwartzel’s round was blunted by bogeys on the 10th and 12th holes, but he jump-started a run of three birdies in five holes with a 64-foot putt on 13.

Another major story of the 2016 Valspar Championship was the play of amateur Lee McCoy whose final round 69 put him in 4th place three shots behind the leaders. The University of Georgia senior who grew up less than a mile from Innisbrook is the first amateur to finish as high as fourth in a PGA TOUR event since Justin Rose at the 1998 British Open (also 4th).

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The Valspar Championship enjoyed a record week of attendance with approximately 105,000 fans, up 20,000 from last year, making their way to the Copperhead Course during the week. “We know we had our best Thursday ever, our best Friday and our best Saturday – and Sunday was strong as well,” says Tournament Director Tracy West. “Thank you to all the fans who attended and the hard work of all those responsible for putting on such a well-received event, especially our 2,000 volunteers.”

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COPPERHEAD BITES: Schwartzel entered the week ranked 28th in the world despite not having won on the PGA TOUR since 2011. He has had three European Tour victories since, including the Tshwane Open in South Africa in February…With an 18th-place finish, defending champion Jordan Spieth posted his fourth top 20 finish in the Valspar Championship in as many tries…Charles Howell III, Retief Goosen and Justin Leonard all made the cut for their 10th time in the Valspar Championship. They are now tied for second in tournament annals, one behind Jonathan Byrd’s 11…Goosen finished in a tie for 11th place at 1 under par to earn $130,014 and move past K.J. Choi into first place on the Valspar Championship’s all-time money list with $2,372,153…The average score for the tournament was 72.62, the second highest in tournament history (72.97 in 2008 remains the record)…On the heels of wins by Kevin Streelman (2013), John Senden (2014) and Spieth, Schwartzel becomes the fourth consecutive Valspar champion whose last name starts with “S”…This was the only tournament in Valspar Championship history without a single round of 65 or better, but a record was set with a total of 27 eagles during the course of the tournament…This was the third playoff in tournament history, and they all have come in the last five years.

QUOTABLE –

CHARL SCHWARTZEL – “I thought at the beginning of the week, if you do get a chance to win you better not back off. Out here guys are really good. You’ve got to take the shots on and live with the consequences. It really is a great feeling.”

BILL HAAS on his feelings about the Copperhead Course and the Valspar Championship – “I love the area. Inside the gates here, it is just pure golf. We’re playing the best golf course we play in Florida and it’s probably in the top five, top 10 courses we play on TOUR…Whistling Straits, 20-under won and you’ve got a place here in Florida right off Highway 19 that’s taking 7-under to win. The place here should be pretty proud.”

JORDAN SPIETH – “The crowds were unbelievable this week. Today, especially with Lee bringing his crowd in, too, and the momentum he was bringing, it was awesome.”

LEE McCOY on Spieth – “The guy has got so much class and he really treated me like I belong out her and that meant a lot.”

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