Jordan Spieth snatches Valspar Championship win in dramatic play-off
Jordan Spieth sunk a 30-foot birdie putt at the third extra hole to win the Valspar Championship in a dramatic three-man play-off.
Spieth outgunned Sean O’Hair and Ryder Cup team-mate Patrick Reed with a lengthy gain at the 17th to secure his second PGA Tour title, after the trio had finished 10-under for the tournament.Opening the play-off at the 18th, the American saw a 10-foot birdie putt for victory pull just wide of the hole, while Reed produced a world-class par-save by getting the ball out from under the lip of the bunker before putting from 15-feet.
Returning to the 16th, O’Hair saw his 12-foot birdie putt for a first win in four years clip the edge of the cup and Reed produced further magic to chip from thick rough to set up a tap-in, as Spieth two-putted from the fringe. The play-off looked set to continue when Reed and O’Hair both completed the 17th in par, but Spieth’s monster putt from the left-hand side of the green rolled in to give the 21-year-old his first success since the 2013 John Deere classic. “It was a crazy back nine being three down with six to play,” Spieth said. “That was the best Michael (Greller, his caddie) and I have done together. “That putt (to win) was just luck. If that doesn’t hit the hole I’ve got a four-foot slider, but I guess it was my day.”
Beginning the final round one-stroke adrift of overnight leader Ryan Moore, the pair opened with birdies at the first before Spieth fired his second shot at the second to within five-feet of the flag as Moore’s found the bunker.Moore dropped two behind when three-putting the third from 50-feet, but was soon two strokes in-front after holing out from 170 yards to eagle the sixth as Spieth posted back-to-back bogeys.
The overnight leader dropped a stroke at ten after missing from six-feet, although extended his advantage to three with successive gains at the next two.With Spieth suddenly finding himself in a four-way tie for second alongside the chasing pack of Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair, the world No 10 struck his tee-shot at 13 to 10-feet from the pin and holed a 30-foot birdie putt at the next for back-to-back gains.
Tied on 10-under for the tournament with Moore, the duo soon saw their lead cut to one with Stenson striking three birdies in-a-row and Reed making birdie at 15, before a 30-foot putt from O’Hair at 16 saw the American pick up his fourth shot in six holes to take a share the lead.
As Reed was going wild at the 18th after seeing his birdie putt from the edge of the green trickle into the cup to move joint-top of the leaderboard, Moore lost ground when his par-save effort at 16 from 15-feet pulled up just short.O’Hair missed an opportunity at the next to take the clubhouse lead, slightly under-hitting his 12-feet for birdie, but was still able to join Reed and Spieth, who produced an uphill par-save at the last, in a play-off.Needing a birdie at the par-four 18th to make it a four-way tie, Moore struck his second into rough 20-feet from the hole and duffed his third, before two-putting for bogey to finish eight-under.
Harris English pocketed five birdies on the back nine for a day’s best 65, but had to make do with a seven-way tie for 10th that included Brian Davis, the highest-placed Englishman.World No 757 Derek Ernst, within two of the lead heading into the final round, closed with a four-over 75 to join Lee Westwood on three-under for the tournament.