Casey repeats win at PGA Tour's Valspar

Paul Casey has successfully defended his Valspar Championship title to become the first back-to-back winner of the PGA Tour event.

25-Mar-2019 By Australian Associated Press
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Paul Casey has became the first back-to-back winner in the 19 years of the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship and it was every bit as tough as he expected.

Not because of Dustin Johnson but because of Innisbrook Resort.

Casey held his nerve down the tough closing stretch for a one-over 72.

On Sunday's final hole, the 41-year-old blasted out of a fairway bunker safely to 20 feet for a two-putt par and a one-shot victory over Jason Kokrak and Louis Oosthuizen.

It was the first time since this event joined the PGA Tour schedule in 2000 that the winner was over par in the final round.

Australians Curtis Luck (73) and Matt Jones (72) finished in a share of 13th at three under.

It was world No.491 Luck's best result of the season as the 22-year-old pocketed $121,940 ($A172,281).

He had made only four cuts from 10 events this season, earning $89,830 ($A126,893), but found some form late last month with a tied 25th in Puerto Rico.

The Copperhead course was so dry and fast in the final round that no player shot better than 68 and the average score of 72.143 was the second-toughest final round his year behind rainy, windy Riviera.

"Today wasn't easy," Casey said. "Last year's win was so big. It felt like my first victory as a pro.

"I'm getting older but I feel like I'm getting better."

Casey finished at eight-under 276 and moved to No.11 in the world rankings.

Kokrak (71) and Oosthuizen (69) each had a share of the lead on the back nine until one mistake cost them.

Nothing came easily for Johnson, who started Sunday's one shot behind Casey.

The world No.1 failed to make a birdie putt in his round for the first time in 31 tournaments worldwide to card a three-over 74 for a share of sixth.

The tournament allowed players to choose whatever name they wanted for the caddie's bib.

Casey went with "The Champ," and he found one positive to the week before he even collected his trophy.

"I don't have to change the caddie bib (for next year)," he said.


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