Taylor Moore stayed out of the spotlight until it mattered most.
The 29-year-old Moore claimed his first PGA Tour victory by closing with a 4-under-par 67 to win the Valspar Championship by one stroke over Adam Schenk on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Most eyes were Schenk and favorite Jordan Spieth in the final twosome, and Tommy Fleetwood of England right in front of them, but Moore made four birdies on the last 10 holes to claim his first title since the 2020 Memorial Heath Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Taylor on the practice tee, where he was staying warm in case he needed to go extra holes. “I’ve was just staying in compete mode when l finished my round because I thought there might be a playoff. But this is just cool moment for me and everybody around me. I owe them all a lot. It’s so cool, it’s so awesome. It’s what I worked for.
“ … I grew up a baseball guy, so I was a pretty high-level baseball player until I was about 15 years old and actually had a scholarship from Arkansas for baseball but ended up deciding to play golf. I kind of fell in love with golf as I got older and just being in control of a little bit of everything instead of relying on teammates and umpires and things. I was either going to win by myself or lose.
“It was great to win today.”
Moore, who also won the 2016 Staal Foundation Open on the PGA Tour Canada, started the final round three shots behind Schenk but collected five birdies against a single bogey on the seventh hole in his final round to post a winning score of 10-under-par 274.
Schenk, who also was seeking his first PGA Tour victory, was tied for the lead with Moore before hitting his tee shot next to a tree on the last hole and being forced to lay up hitting left-handed. Eventually, he missed a 47-foot par putt to force a playoff when his ball hit the pin and bounced away. Earlier, he made birdie putts of 24 feet on the ninth hole and a 71-foot monster at No. 12 in his 70.
“It stinks,” said Schenk, who won the 2017 Lincoln Land Charity Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour and the 2016 Iowa Open. “I hit a really bad drive on the last hole. I toed it. Wish it 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 and not win, but it was great week all in all, so I can’t really complain. (Caddie) David (Cooke) and I did about as good as we could have done with how I hit it today. I didn’t hit it quite as good as I did the rest of the week. But I’m very pleased overall.”
Spieth, seeking his 14th PGA Tour victory, was tied for the lead with Schenk before making his only bogeys at Nos. 16 and 18 in another 70 two finish two behind in a tie for fourth with Fleetwood, who has won nine times around the world and had three birdies in his own 70.
Said Spieth: “I thought it was down to me and Adam. I thought it was down to us two, and I thought I was maybe going to sneak a tie on 16, and Tommy, I don’t know what he did in the end. But I guess (Moore) made a bunch of putts, got up-and-down from everywhere to finish.”
Wyndham Clark made four birdies on the back nine in another 70 to wind up four strokes back in solo fifth, followed by two-time defending Valspar champion Sam Burns, who carded a bogey-free 67 and was one more down in sixth.
Matt Wallace of England birdied two of the first six holes but could manage only a 72 to finish six back in a tie for seventh with 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, who made two early birdies but no more in a 73, and left-hander Cody Gribble, who had three birdies on the back nine to salvage another 73.
Tenth-ranked Justin Thomas made five birdies in a 70 and tied for 10th with Eric van Rooyen of South Africa, who birdied four of the first seven holes en route to a 67; Nick Taylor of Canada, who had two birdies on each nine in a 70; J.T. Poston, who struggled home with two late bogeys on “The Snake Pit” (holes 16-18) in a 72; Zac Blair, who birdied the first two holes of the back nine in another 72, and Patton Kizzire, who had two late bogeys for a 73.
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