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The final leaderboard for the 2016 Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course of Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida is in. Charl Schwartzel triumphed in a playoff over runner-up Bill Haas to claim his second PGA Tour title and first title in nearly five years. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Charl Schwartzel (-7)
(2) Bill Haas (-7)
(3) Ryan Moore (-5)
(4) Lee McCoy (-4)
(T5) Charles Howell III (-3)
(T5) Graham DeLaet (-3)
(T7) Louis Oosthuizen (-2)
(T7) Scott Brown (-2)
(T7) Steve Stricker (-2)
(T7) Patrick Reed (-2)
Here are my thoughts and a few statistics on the champion and some notable golfers near the top of the leaderboard:
Winner: Charl Schwartzel (-7) – This is Schwartzel’s first Valspar win, second PGA Tour win and first Tour win since the 2011 Masters almost five years ago. He finished T17 last week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship; his best finish in the 2015-2016 wraparound season aside from this week was a T6 at the Frys.com Open last October. The last time he played this event was in 2012 when it was known as the Transitions Championship — he missed the cut then, so there’s no evidence that any kind of course form helped him this week. Here’s Schwartzel’s post-win tweet in which he says that the win was “a big step for him”:
Thanks for all the support, that was a big step for me. #ValsparChampionship
— Charl Schwartzel (@CA_Schwartzel) March 14, 2016
Whether or not the win can translate into some consistency moving forward into the first major of the year remains a question. Over the years he has proven to be quite “spotty” when it comes to his performances, so we’ll have to see what comes of this.
Today: 6 birdies and 2 bogeys for a 4-under 67. He trailed by five shots heading into the final round. He made a key birdie on the 17th (a par-3) to gain a share of the lead and then parred the 18th to make the sudden-death playoff. He made par on the first playoff hole (the par-4 18th) to edge out Haas, who made bogey. Scores in regulation: 71, 70, 69, 67 (277) — an improvement each day.
Bill Haas (-7) – This would have been Haas’ seventh PGA Tour win and first Valspar title. He finished T49 in his last Tour start last week at the WGC-Cadillac and missed the cut at the preceding Northern Trust Open. Aside from this week, his best Tour finish of the current season was a T8 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. His last official Tour win remains the 2015 Humana Challenge. Previous finishes at the Innisbrook tournament for Haas include a T14 in 2015, missed cut in 2014, T16 in 2010 and a missed cut in 2009 — like Schwartzel, there isn’t much of a course form presence here. Overall Haas has played pretty decently this season with several top-10s. Will this be the year where he finally breaks through to win his first major or at least come close? It’s possible, but only time will tell.
Today: 3 birdies and 4 bogeys for a 1-over 72. He was the 54-hole leader, but his bogey on the par-4 16th proved fatal for him as it prevented him from winning outright, instead bogeying the first hole of a playoff with Schwartzel to lose. Scores in regulation: 71, 67, 67, 72 (277).