CONGRATULATIONS to John Senden for keeping the Aussie golfing flag flying with his second US PGA Tour victory on the weekend.
The lanky Queenslander became just the second non-American to win on the tour’s new 2013/14 wrap-around season. The other of course was Jason Day at the WGC – Accenture Match Play in February.
Senden hasn’t won in more than seven years and was in a three-way tie for the lead of the 2014 Valspar Championship going into a daunting three-hole closing stretch called “The Snake Pit” on the Copperhead course at Palm Harbor in Florida.
Senden has long been known for crisp ball striking but not always his short game or ability to close.
He turned that around at Copperhead, chipping in from some 68 feet for a birdie on the 16th and following it up on the 17th with a 20-foot birdie putt to build a two-shot lead.
He then made it tough for challenger Kevin Na to catch him with a perfect paced 40-foot putt on the 18th that left him only a tap-in for par.
Senden closed with a 1-under 70 to take the championship on 7-under by a stroke from Na (72), with fellow American Scott Langley (70) third on 5-under.
“If I could just stay in the moment, I knew I was swinging well enough to give it a shake,” a delighted Senden said.
Aside from the US$1,026,000 winner’s cheque, Senden will score an invitation to the US Masters next month, where last year he finished with his best ever result of T35.
The win also catapulted him to 14th on the FedEx Cup standings and will see invitations to a number of other feature events and generally make life much easier on the tour for at least the next two years.
“I didn’t turn my phone on because I know there’s going to be 4,000 messages,” Senden said. “It feels good to do it again after seven years. Lot of good things to come.”
The 42 year old is the oldest player to win on the US PGA Tour this year and the first over 40.2014 Valspar Championship Leaderboard