Senden wins by 1 at Valspar Championship
03/16/2014 5:13 PM
03/16/2014 6:51 PM
Palm Harbor, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - John Senden carded a 1-under 70 on Sunday to emerge from a crowded leaderboard and claim a 1-shot victory at the Valspar Championship.
Senden earned his second career victory on the PGA Tour at 7-under-par 277. His other win came at the 2006 John Deere Classic.
"I just went out there and felt comfortable throughout the first 10 or 12 holes. Then I started to make a few little errors and get a little uptight on the back nine, but made some really nice saves and putts coming down the stretch," said Senden. "I'm just so happy to come out on top."
Kevin Na tripped to a 1-over 72 during his final round on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook to finish in second place at 6-under 278. He had a chance to force a playoff with a 39-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole, but could not convert.
Scott Langley (70) took third at 5-under, while third-round leader Robert Garrigus (75), Luke Donald (70) and Will MacKenzie (69) shared fourth at minus-4.
Garrigus entered the day with a 1-shot lead over Na, but after Senden 2-putted for birdie at the first to grab a share of second place at 7-under, Garrigus posted a double-bogey 6 at the third to fall to minus-6 and hand the lead to Senden and Na.
Garrigus' troubles at the hole started with an errant drive into the left rough, where he would just be able to punch out to the fairway. He would later 2-putt for his double bogey.
Langley then converted three birdies in a four-hole span from the third, including holing out his second shot from off the green at the par-3 fourth, to make it a three-way tie for the lead.
Senden was the first to break from the pack with a short birdie putt at the fifth, but Na followed with birdie at the same hole to join him at 8-under.
Na, however, would record back-to-back bogeys at the sixth and seventh before 2-putting for a double-bogey 5 from inside four feet at the eighth to fall well of the pace.
Senden had also bogeyed the seventh to fall to 7-under, but he was still two clear of the field as Langley tripped to bogeys at the eighth and 12th to drop to minus-5.
After Senden failed to get up and down for par from a greenside bunker at the 12th to cut his advantage to just one, Langley 2-putted for birdie from just off the green at the 14th to grab a share of the lead.
Senden would trade a bogey at the 12th with a birdie at the 14th to maintain his share of the lead before Langley bogeyed the 16th to drop to 5-under and leave Senden alone atop the leaderboard.
But Senden could not hang on and found a bunker off the tee at the 15th en route to a bogey.
Na, meanwhile, followed his double bogey at the eighth with five straight pars to remain in contention as his competitors faltered. He took advantage with a birdie at the 14th to make it a three-way tie at 5-under.
Senden looked to be in trouble of losing his share of the lead at the 16th when his drive found its way into the trees, but he played his next shot just short of the green and chipped in from 68 feet for a birdie and sole possession of first place.
"It was really just like a magic shot," Senden said of his chip.
Senden stretched his lead to two with a 22-foot birdie putt at the 17. He parred the last to end at 7-under.
That extra cushion would be needed as Na converted a 14-foot birdie putt at the 17th to move to minus-6, but then came up short and left of his long, bending birdie putt at the 18th to finish a shot off the pace.
"I made two great birdies coming in, but it wasn't good enough," said Na. "I'm really pleased with how I played. I just got outplayed the last few holes."
NOTES: Aside from his win, Senden has also finished in a tie for second place at this tournament in 2007 and 2008 ... Senden is the first player in his 40s to win on the PGA Tour this season ... Na's runner-up finish is his bast on tour since winning the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open ... Donald finished inside the top six at this event for the fourth straight year ... Mark Calcavecchia withdrew prior to the start of the final round with an illness.
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