Valspar Championship: Taylor Moore grabs first career win after Adam Schenk, Jordan Spieth stumble down stretch
All Adam Schenk needed at the 18th was a par.
Sure, a birdie would have won it for him, but a simple par would have at least forced a playoff at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort on Sunday afternoon.
But Schenk, who is in the midst of a marathon 10-week run, fell apart.
Schenk sent his drive left into the crowd and up against a tree at the Tampa, Florida, area course, and that led to a bogey — which handed the win to Taylor Moore.
Moore posted a 4-under 67 in a nearly perfect Sunday, which sent him to the clubhouse with a share of the lead well before Schenk and Jordan Spieth’s final group finished. Moore made four birdies in his final 10 holes of the day, and saved par at the last to get to 10-under on the week and eventually take the win.
The victory marked the first of Moore’s career.
What a moment for @TaylorMooreGolf ❤️ pic.twitter.com/jIn0Nsnwtc
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 19, 2023
Spieth also had a shot to win as he was tied for the lead with three holes to play. But bogeys on 16 and 18 sunk his chances.
Schenk entered the final hole as co-leader, but it fell apart with his errant drive on 18 landed against a tree left of the fairway, which forced him to punch out while swinging left-handed.
His shot actually crossed through the fairway and landed in the rough on the other side.
Adam Schenk takes a left-handed approach and finds the right rough. pic.twitter.com/aAJyFM3Y3N
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 19, 2023
But his approach shot ended up rolling down to the far side of the green, which left him with a 41-footer to try and force a playoff. While he actually hit the cup with the putt, the ball was moving too fast to fall. That officially gave Moore the win.
Schenk has been playing nonstop this spring. The Valspar Championship marked his 10th consecutive start on Tour dating back to the Sony Open in Hawaii. While he’s made the cut in eight of those, his best finish was only a T20 run at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. He missed the cut last week at The Players Championship.
Schenk is only playing as much as he can right now so he can take time off this summer. His wife is due with their first child in about six weeks.
“So [I’m just] trying to make as many points as I can to take as much time off as I can and spend time with him and my wife, which will be very special,” he said after Friday’s round.
Schenk didn’t seem nervous heading into Sunday’s round, either.
He held a one-shot lead over Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood to start the day, and his first Tour win was in reach.
“If I win, great. If I don't win, that's fine too,” he said calmly on Saturday night. “I mean, obviously I want to be a PGA Tour winner. I played out here for six years, not that I've done everything except win, but I've done, you know, plenty, played a lot of years. Winning would be everything and awesome.”
He nearly pulled it off.
Schenk carded a 1-under 70 on Sunday and finished alone in second at 9-under on the week.
“It stinks,” Schenk said. “I hit a really bad drive on the last hole. I toed it. Wish I could have lightly hit somebody and stayed where I had a chance to get to the green, but it did not, and I didn't deserve it. I had a chance with the wedge shot that came up short, and then I had a chance with the putt, which surprisingly actually hit the pin and came close.
“But it stinks to get so close, but great week all in all, so I can't really complain.”
Moore, on the other hand, played almost perfectly the entire day. He made back-to-back birdies on No. 15 and No. 16, and then saved par on the 17th to keep himself in position at the top. He was the only golfer in the final 11 groups of the day to post a round in the 60s.
Moore entered the week after a T35 finish last week at The Players Championship. His win marked his only top-10 finish in 15 events this season, his second full year on the Tour.