Valspar Championship: John Senden secures trip to the Masters with one-shot victory

Last Updated: 17/03/14 12:39am

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John Senden: Won the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort

John Senden: Won the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort

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John Senden survived in the Snake Pit at Copperhead to secure a one-shot victory in the Valspar Championship.

The Australian secured his second win on the PGA Tour, and his first in eight years, thanks to a birdie-birdie-par finish over the taxing final three holes that have been given such a daunting nickname at the Innsibrook Resort.

"I got a little bit busy in the mind going up the last hole. But I managed to hit a nice second shot and the putt was really the icing on the cake when it went down to around two inches."
John Senden

Having found himself in a share of the lead after a bogey at the 15th - his third dropped shot in the space of four holes - Senden produced a moment of magic with his approach to the 16th green, chipping in from around 70ft away.

He followed that up with a superb putt at the next green, and a par at the last gave him a slender cushion as he signed for a score of 70.

Kevin Na was the only man with any realistic chance of catching him, and a birdie at his penultimate hole cut the gap to the slenderest possible margin.

But needing a three at the par-four last to force a play-off, the American was off target to the left with a tough 40ft putt.

It meant the 42-year-old could celebrate his first triumph since the John Deere Classic in 2006. He had finished runner-up four times since, including twice in the tournament where he finally ended his long wait to taste victory again.

Bit busy

"I just love the way the course blows," he said after not only ending his drought but also securing a trip to this year's Masters at Augusta.

Final leaderboard

(US unless stated)

-7 J Senden (Aus)
-6 K Na
-5 S Langley
-4 W MacKenzie
-4 L Donald (Eng)
-4 R Garrigus

"The scoring always stays under double figures here, and I felt if I could just stay in the moment that I was swinging well enough to go out there and give it a shake.

"I got a little bit busy in the mind going up the last hole. But I managed to hit a nice second shot and the putt was really the icing on the cake when it went down to around two inches."

Na ended up alone in second after signing for a 72, meaning he was one ahead of compatriot Scott Langley.

Englishman Luke Donald (70) was on four under alongside Will MacKenzie and Robert Garrigus, who had led going into Sunday but suffered a nightmare front nine, going out in 41 shots. He eventually ended up with a score of 75.

Justin Rose only just fared better, his 74 including a hat-trick of bogeys from the 11th onwards as he completed his week on two under.

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