Taylor Moore earns first career win after Adam Schenk and Jordan Spieth stumble
All Adam Schenk needed on the 18th was par.
Sure, a birdie would win, but a simple par should at least force a playoff in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort on Sunday afternoon.
But Schenk, who is in the middle of a 10-week marathon, collapsed.
Schenk sent it left into the crowd and into a tree on the Tampa, Fla., field course, leading to a bogey that gave Taylor Moore the win.
Moore posted a 4-under 67 on a near-perfect Sunday that sent him into the clubhouse with a share of the lead before the final group of Schenk and Jordan Spieth finished. Moore made four birdies over the final 10 holes of the day, saving par to reach 10 under for the week and eventually take the win.
The victory was the first of Moore’s career.
Spieth also had a chance to win, as he was tied for the lead with three holes to play. But bogeys on 16 and 18 sunk the odds.
Schenk entered the final hole as the co-leader, but his errant drive on the 18th landed into a tree left of the fairway, forcing him to hole out while swinging left.
His shot crossed the fairway and landed in the rough on the other side.
But his approach shot ended up landing on the far side of the green, which left him with a 41-footer to try to force a putt. While he actually hit the cup with the putt, the ball was moving too fast to drop. That officially gave Moore the win.
Schenk has been playing non-stop this spring. The Valspar Championship marked his 10th consecutive Tour appearance at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Although he has made the cut in eight of those, his best finish was just a T20 at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. He missed the cut last week at The Players Championship.
Schenk is playing as much as he can so he can rest this summer. His wife will have their first child in six weeks.
“So [I’m just] trying to get as many points as I can to take as much time as I can and spend time with him and my wife, which will be very special,” he said after Friday’s round.
Schenk also didn’t appear nervous going into Sunday’s round.
He had a one-sided lead over Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood to start the day, and his first win was within reach.
“If I win, great. If I don’t win, that’s fine too,” he said calmly on Saturday night. “I mean, obviously I want to be a winner on the PGA Tour. I played here for six years, not that I’ve done everything but win, but, you know, I’ve played for many, many years. To win would be everything and awesome.”
He almost pulled it off.
Schenk carded a 1-under 70 on Sunday and finished alone in second place for the week at 9 under.
“It stinks,” Schenk said. “I hit a very bad drive on the last hole. I fingered it. I wish I could have hit someone lightly and stayed where I had a chance to get to the green, but I didn’t, and I didn’t deserve it. I had a chance with the wedge shot that fell short, and then I had a chance with the putt, which surprisingly actually hit the pin and went close.
“But it stinks to get that close, but a great week overall so I can’t complain.”
Moore, on the other hand, played almost perfectly all day. He made back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th, and made par on the 17th to stay at the top. He was the first to post a round in the 60s in the last 11 teams of the day.
Moore entered The Players Championship after finishing T35 last week. His win marked his only top-10 finish in 15 events this season, his second full year on the Tour.