PALM HARBOR, Florida – The 2022 edition of the Valspar Championship is in the books, and if the winner’s name looks the same as last, it is!
Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor Florida lived up to its reputation of being a tough course, while rewarding good shots and Sam Burns turned on the burners to win for the second consecutive year, defeating Davis Riley on the second hole of a playoff.
Beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida spring weather was welcomed by the players for the week offering a chance to take off their rain gear after last week’s miserable wet and cold weather at TPC in Ponte Vedre. This year’s tournament featured five of the top 10 players in the world, and three previous tournament winners.
The final day saw a leaderboard that had a differential of seven shots between 1st place and 6th place. This was a large lead considering the difficulty of the Copperhead Course and all the history behind it. The only thing that made this separation a little less intimidating was that the leader Davis Riley (-18) is a rookie leading his first PGA Tour event and 2nd place was occupied by Matthew NeSmith (-16), who tied the course record of 61 in his 2nd round but has also never been in the final pairing at a PGA Tournament. Five of the last eight PGA Tour events have been first time winners.
Following closely behind the first pairing was Justin Thomas (-15) and Sam Burns (-15). Unfortunately for the final pairing, they were playing behind this group that had the largest following of golf fans walking with them. Riley and NeSmith spent the afternoon listening to the crowd’s reactions to every shot taken by Thomas and Burns. They frequently had their pace of play disrupted from time to time waiting for the crowd to move once the hole ahead of them is finished.
The other six players, Adam Harwin (-13), Matt Fitzpatrick (-11), Brian Harman (-11), Troy Merritt (-11), Xander Schauffele (-11), and Robert Streb (-11) would all have to have a round in the low sixties to challenge the leaders.
Davis Riley stood on the par-5 5th tee during the final round of the 2022 Valspar Championship with a two-shot lead. He walked off the green trailing by one. He had gone 34 holes without a bogey before that hole. The 25-year-old PGA Tour rookie made the only triple bogey of the week on No. 5 at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course at the worst time.
The Playoff format starts on the par 4, 18th hole. If a winner isn’t determined at the conclusion of this hole the playoff continues at the par 4, 16th hole, to the par 3, 17th hole and back to the par 4, 18th hole or until a winner is determine.
18th hole, par 4, Sam Burns using a 3-wood hit his drive to the left side of the fairway while Davis Riley hit his driver into the right rough just short of the trap. Riley hit his 2nd shot into the front side bunker while Burns’ 2nd shot found the left upper back of the green. Both players ended up with pars
16th hole, par 4, Burns’ drive found the straw grass along the left side of the fairway close to the trees will Riley’s drive settle into the middle of the fairway about 170 yards from the green. Burns hit a low liner to the back edge of the green and Riley slightly overshot the green. Burns’ long putt found the left side of the cup and fell in for a birdie. Riley’s chip from off the green miss the cup giving Burns his second in a row Valspar Championship.
The 2022 edition of Valspar Championship delivered yet another fabulous, memorable conclusion!