Taylor Moore claims first PGA Tour title after anxious wait in Florida

Taylor Moore won the Valspar Championship after a final round of 67 (Mike Carlson/AP) (AP)
Taylor Moore won the Valspar Championship after a final round of 67 (Mike Carlson/AP) (AP)

American Taylor Moore claimed his first PGA Tour title in his 46th start following a dramatic finish to the Valspar Championship.

Moore carded a closing 67 at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course to post the clubhouse target of 10 under par before facing an anxious wait to see if any of his rivals could match it.

Adam Schenk needed to par the 18th to force a play-off but pulled his drive left of the fairway and saw his ball come to rest just inches from the base of a tree.

From there he made brilliant contact on a left-handed shot which bounded through the fairway and, after hitting his approach to 41 feet, saw his long par attempt carry too much speed, catch the edge of the hole and run five feet past.

Playing partner Jordan Spieth needed to birdie the last to catch Moore but three-putted from long range to fall back into a tie for third on eight under with England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

Spieth had been tied for the lead when he hit a terrible drive into the water on the 16th, but salvaged a remarkable bogey and then hit the best tee shot of the day on the par-three 17th, only to miss from six feet for birdie.

Moore told NBC: “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I was just in compete mode and just watching the guys finish, maybe in a play-off, maybe not, and it’s so cool.

“It’s so awesome, it’s what I work for and I’m really excited not just for me but for everyone around me. It’s a cool moment.”

Fleetwood was tied for the lead following his third birdie of the day on the par-five 11th, but needed two attempts to escape from an awkward lie in a greenside bunker on the 14th and the resulting bogey effectively ended his chances of a first PGA Tour title.

Two-time defending champion Sam Burns, who was bidding to become the first player in more than a decade to win the same PGA Tour event three years in a row, finished sixth after a closing 67.

Former Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker was the last player to achieve the feat, doing so at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11.

There have been 13 players with an opportunity to match Stricker since then, with nobody succeeding. Brooks Koepka came closest when he finished runner-up at Pebble Beach in 2019 in pursuit of a third straight US Open title.