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PGA vet John Senden chips in win at Valspar Championship

John Senden snatched away the lead from Kevin Na Sunday at The Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course’s infamous final three holes, known collectively as the Snake Pit.

The late-day heroics much-improved an otherwise ugly event at Innisbrook outside Tampa Bay. Most of the PGA Tour’s top players were taking the week off in preparation for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Wind and poor final pairings play on the final day also marred Valspar.

A lot was made about Senden’s age, 42, and that it was just his second Tour win and eight years since his first (He had one of the longest streaks between wins in PGA history with 205.). But Senden knew Copperhead well, too, having come in second twice in the tourney.


And throughout the Valspar Championship, he played consistently with his mid-range and short games, keeping Senden in constant contention. Plus, he had some fantastic wedge shots to keep him in it.

But Senden still had to fight for the win with Na by getting a birdie for the lead on the 16th, then another birdie before parring to win. He finished his final round 7-under par with 70.

Na began the day with the lead, but he ended having to settle for tie on the 18th with a birdie. It didn’t happen.

The rest of the weak field’s top-five leaders were Scott Langley at 5-under, Will MacKenzie at 4-under and Luke Donald, also 4-under. Robert Garrigus, who was paired with Na on Sunday, finished 4-under as well.

Some observers blamed Garrigus and Na’s vastly different paces and styles of play (Na typically slow and deliberate, Garrigus not so much, but stuck) for Na’s downfall. At one point, the pair was assessed a pace-of-play warning by officials, but not given any stroke penalties.

Kevin Na Valspar

Some other notables were Justin Rose, who finished tied for eighth with 2-under, Jim Furyk and Jordan Spieth, both tied for 20th and even par, and Harris English and Matt Kuchar, who both ended 38th and 3-over par.

Then of course there was John Daly’s 12 on Friday on the 16th. He hit the ball three times into the water, including off the tee. He ended the day with a record-high 90 for his career, blaming his woes mostly on putting “yips” and poor chips.

Daly told the Associated Press that he was “falling apart” as he limped off the course. 

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