Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Valspar Championship: England's Paul Casey beats Tiger Woods by one shot

Valspar Championship: England's Paul Casey beats Tiger Woods by one shot

Sergio Garcia moved way up the Valspar Championship leaderboard Sunday.

Woods' effort in a final day 70 continues to defy the doubters and just adds further bite in his gaol to claim a first victory in almost five years.

Entering the final day of the Valspar Championship with a shot at lead, Shreveport native Sam Burns finished the tournament tied for 12th.

Casey has now won 18 times in his pro career and with 13 of those on the European Tour and the last being the 2014 KLM Open.

Donning his trademark Sunday best outfit of a red shirt and black trousers, Woods finished tied second with fellow American Patrick Reed on 9-under, after shooting a one-under 70 in the final round.

"Very, very loud", Woods said.

"It feels good to be up here", Woods, who has not won since 2013, said.

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"A couple of putts here and there and it could have been a different story".

Corey Conners, the Canadian rookie who started the final round with a one-shot lead, fell back quickly after opening with a bogey on the easiest hole at Innisbrook.

He did not, however, go quietly.

"I loved his putt on 17", Casey said. "I thought he was going to hole the one on 18".

He added: "I felt very comfortable, actually".

"I didn't hit it hard enough, obviously", Reed said. I've won my share of events here and overseas and so I like to be one back or near the lead. "I'm glad it's this way".

For Woods though, there was something to cheer in his coming up second as it was his best finish on the PGA Tour in 1,659 days. His 7-iron approach shot landed to the fat of the green, 39 feet away from the cup and a playoff. His putter letting him down for the majority of the day until the penultimate green, where he drained a 45-footer for birdie. He answered Sunday with all eyes on someone else - Woods - by going out in 33, and then getting rewarded for aggressive play.

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After a week of promise, it was not to be.

"I had a chance to win", he said, and there's no dismay in his voice. Later, he blamed his sore neck and back on a soft hotel bed, but less than a year later he went under the knife for his first of four back surgeries. Instead, they came over to watch him, with the parental units and the fiancée.

"He's got the right energy". And I hit the ball well.

"So, there's a lot of guys up there, so, you know, myself included".

Woods lifted his head after draining that 43-foot birdie putt on 17, willing it in, and grinned, tugged appreciatively at the bill of his cap. It felt like game on. So, nothing that happened over the weekend suggests he will never play here again.

Reed chose to chip the next shot, and he putted in for bogey.

Tiger Woods did not quite manage to win the Valspar Championship, but the 14-time major champion briefly sent Twitter insane as he threatened to pull off a miraculous finish at Palm Harbor. Mullinax's previous best showing in a PGA Tour tournament came at last year's U.S. Open, where he finished tied for ninth.

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