Valspar Championship Recap

03-13-17

Poutine for everybody!

Probably some Moosehead being poured in Moose Jaw as Canadian Adam Hadwin collects his first Tour win.

Canadian Adam Hadwin won for the first time on Tour as he posted 14-under par 270 to win the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Spa in Palm Harbor, Florida. Patrick Cantlay, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, finished one shot behind in second. Rookie Dominic Bozzelli and veteran Jim Herman rounded out the podium T-3.

 

Key Moment(s):

  • After knocking his tee ball in the water at No. 16, he took his medicine and didn’t compound the issue.
  • Unable to hit GIR in his final four holes, his trusty short game held up under the most serious of circumstances.
  • It didn’t hurt that he entered the final round with a four-shot lead. That lead gave him breathing room all day and forced the field to come and get him.

 

Scorecard:

  • 21 birdies co-led the field.
  • His five bogeys were T-2.
  • 71 on Sunday included a double and just one other bogey shows he held it together quite well.
  • Comprehensive victory included second best Approach the Green, fourth in Putting and fifth Tee to Green.
  • Racked up 51 of 72 GIR (T-5) while only finding 33 of 52 fairways (T-27).
  • Putter was on fire as he was fourth SGP and second PPGIR.

 

Past history at Valspar:

  • A common theme in the top 10 this week was course history wasn’t a huge factor this week.
  • With the new green complexes installed last year and the larger, extended surfaces, more players are finding success here.
  • In six previous rounds Hadwin was 16-over par with only two rounds in the 60’s (71st, MC the last two years).

 

Fantasy Forecast:

 

  • His 59 at CB Challenge should have been a clue that his game was in a decent shape.
  • He entered the week on nine cuts made in a row worldwide so something was clicking.
  • Gamers have been sniffing around since he was the 2014 regular season Web.com money leader after winning twice.
  • He’s won at every level as a professional that he’s competed. #WinningBreedsWinning.
  • He’s improved each year on Tour in top 10’s and reducing MC’s.
  • In 10 events this year he’s already matched his best haul for top 10’s (3) and is only two off in top 25’s (5).
  • Marriage is a pretty big deal but it’s hardly something that sneaks up on gamers or the bride and groom. Sure, it’s a “life-changing moment” but I’m more interested in when the first kid arrives!
  • Hadwin’s best results before this week have been:

T-10 Shriners (2015)

T-5 Colonial (2015)

T-7 Canadian Open (Royal Montreal, 2015)

T-6 CB Challenge (2016)

T-8 John Deere (2016)

T-10 Mayakoba (2017)

T-2 CB Challenge (2017)

 

With this win:

 

  • Postponed his honeymoon to play in the Masters.
  • Collects $1,134,000.
  • 500 FEC points.
  • Checks in at No. 51, up from No. 98 in the OWGR. He began calendar 2016 No. 191 in the world.
  • Now ranked 4th in the FedExCup standings.

 

 

Valspar Hindsight:

Trends and stats from the week for next week and next year

 

  • No player has ever defended but Charl Schwartzel backed up his title with a solo sixth.
  • He joins Carl Pettersson (2006), Gary Woodland (2011) and Kevin Streelman (2013) as first time Tour winners at this event.
  • Hadwin’s 14-under par is the second lowest total since moving to the spring in 2007 (Woodland, -15).
  • Low round of the week was 62 on Thursday by Jim Herman. Padraig Harrington’s course record of 61 is safe for another year.
  • There are no multiple winners since moving to the spring.
  • He becomes the fifth international winner since the move to spring and third in the last four years.
  • Over the last three seasons, the most bogey-free rounds for an event was 12. There were 21 this year. #Easier.
  • There were five players that put all four rounds under par after just two last year.
  • Course played “easier” this year as the wind blew from the NNW all four days instead of changing directions.

 

As we’ve learned again this year previous experience on this track is a complete non-starter and isn’t required. Players who keep their golf ball out of the trees and the drink are rewarded regardless of their experience. The TifEagle greens aren’t ready for prime time yet but once they are, the scoring here will reduce into single digits again in my opinion.

 

 

Scorecard: 

A look inside the rest of the top 10.

 

Patrick Cantlay (2nd): His solo second knocks out his MME and he’s back to full status for the rest of the year so long-term investors are happy for many reasons. He’s won at every level. He shot 60 as an amateur at Travelers. His ball-striking is the reason why. Remember, this was his SECOND start of the season. Imagine the possibilities if he gets hot! He MC here in 2013 in his only other appearance.

 

Dominic Bozzelli (T-3): He MC in three consecutive events before finishing a career-best fifth. He MC in his last three events leading into this week and went two places better. If he MC three times in a row again, the pattern says he’s going to win! His four bogeys on the week (no others) led the field and he was T-2 GIR. He put all four rounds at 70 or better so not bad for his first event here!

 

Jim Herman (T-3): It’s no surprise that his two lowest rounds of 2017 have been in events where he’s hit the top 10. His 65 on Sunday at Sony snuck him in the back door for 10th. His opening round 62 this week was his best ever on Tour but it was his 68 on Sunday that made the difference. His T-3 was the biggest check in the last 11 months since winning at the SHO last April. Herman was +15 in two previous trips to Innisbrook (MC, MC).

 

Tony Finau (5th): The big hitting Finau was +13 in his previous two tries at the Copperhead course the last two seasons so he continues the angle that course form isn’t front-and-center here. His closing 64 was tied with Hadwin for second-lowest round of the week. He’s found something here as he led the field in SGOTT, SGTTG and fairways plus was T-2 GIR. He only made one bogey on the back nine all week and played his final 30 holes in nine-under. His third top 10 in seven starts in 2017 gives him one more than last year in 28 starts. #ArrowUp.

 

Charl Schwartzel (6th): He thinks the new changes are great as he won last year with all four rounds at par-or-better and backed that up with four more rounds all UNDER par this year. He also loves the weekend as he followed up his 136 last year with 135 this year. He entered the week off MC, MC and T-35 so it’s obvious this place matches his game.

 

Wesley Bryan (T-7): Whatever he found at Riviera with 63 on Saturday has stuck as he’s pegged his third top 10 in as many starts. Bryan, who is a fantastic putter, has found more and more fairways and greens and has given that putter a chance to score. There’s NOTHING phony about racking up top 10’s at Riviera, PGA National and Innisbrook. The rookie is starting to show that his three wins on the Web.com last season were not a fluke. I wouldn’t have been so sure a month ago!

 

Henrik Stenson (T-7): Last week was just that, last week for the Swede and his return to Innisbrook found another top finish. For the third year in a row he’s posted T-11 or better as he didn’t post a round worse than par. In 12 rounds here he’s never posted worse than 72. Wait until you seen his record at Bay Hill where he’ll be the favorite again to win this week!

 

Russell Henley (T-9): His bookend rounds of 64 and 67 washed away the middle 71-75 as he picked up his second top 10 in nine starts this season. He was T-12 in fairways, 10th GIR and sixth in putts per GIR so a very nice balance this week. Gamers who were on him for T-43 at Honda, a place where he’s won, can only scratch their collective heads this week.

 

John Huh (T-9): His first three tries at Innisbrook were all MC. His last three are T-33, T-22 and T-9 this year with 10 of 12 rounds at par or better. Huh ranks in the top 60 in SGP, fairways and greens but didn’t have a finish better than T-27 in six 2017 starts. He also posted all four rounds of 70 or lower this week.

 

 

Eyes Open:

Players outside the top 10 who have caught my eyes in a positive way.

 

Jason Dufner (T-11): He’s played every year since 2009 and never missed the weekend. Hell, he’s never missed the top 30 as T-28 is his worst finish! #Automatic.

 

Nick Watney (T-14): He seems to be in this section of the column each week. The glass half full guys see that as excellent news. I’m patient!

 

Graeme McDowell (T-14): Back-to-back starts of T-14. Back-to-back starts of T-14 after TERRIBLE first rounds. He’s one of the gatekeepers next week at API so I wonder if he can handle hosting duties with a big field.

 

J.T. Poston (T-14): Gamers, it’s now six out of seven in 2017 and that includes his last four in a row. Of his last 12 rounds 10 are par or better and the results have followed (T-17, T-27 and T-14). Head’s up.

 

Jamie Lovemark (T-27): He hit it great this week but couldn’t make anything. He was also four-over on “The Snake Pit” for the week. If he takes his ball-striking with him to Bay Hill I could see him back into the top 10 again.

 

“Whatever happened to…?”

 

Justin Thomas (MC): 71-74 and home for practice before WGC-Dell Match Play. I don’t think this generation gives two shits about anything other than winning so we’re going to have to live with MC’s.

 

Gary Woodland (T-58): Repeat after me: If he’s in the FAVORITES section of my preview, fade him. And vice versa. Maddening.

 

Bill Haas (T-41): His worst finish in eight events came in the week that I was contemplating him for OAD among other formats. Sigh.

 

Patrick Reed (T-38): He’s rattle off 19 weekends in a row where he’s teed it up. Sadly none of the last six have made it into the top 10. He should perk up for WGC-Dell Match Play in two weeks and his home game in Houston after that.

 

Matt Kuchar (T-22): Add another top 25 to make it five in the last seven here.

 

Charles Howell, III (T-49): His three year streak of T-14 or lower crashed out with 73-74 on the weekend. The easiest fantasy question to answer is when to jump on the CH3 bandwagon. The most difficult is to know when the show is over.

 

Graham DeLaet (T-22): His worst finish in his last four would have been even worse except for his Sunday 67 that moved him up 27 spots to his final resting place. Right church, wrong Canadian this week but his solid play continues overall.

 

Billy Horschel (MC): I wrote after the Honda that Billy Horschel doesn’t love golf in Florida rather he just loves the Honda. Yet, after presenting the facts and finishes, I decided to out-smart myself and endorse him after his big finish at Honda (there’s that word again!). 75-73 and back to Ponte Vedra Beach! Trust the numbers, Glass! In eight rounds over three events, Horschel has one round under par and that’s 70 in 2013.

 

Martin Laird (MC): His all-or-nothing 2017 added a new layer in event No. 6 with MC. He’ll be right back in the preview column as he’s the ONLY Euro to win at Bay Hill in 38 events. Think about that for a minute.

 

Kevin Na (MC): His streak of seven weekends at this event is over. It’s more painful when he hit the top 10 his last time out at Riviera.

 

Sean O’Hair: For the second year in a row he WD with a neck injury. Bizarre.

 

Daniel Berger: His rookie year T-11 is way better than his last two of MC.

 

 

Stay Tuned:

Keep up @MikeGlasscott and mikeglasscott.com for more details. Tomorrow, I’ll preview the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Wednesday I’ll post my gaming column.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s