PALM HARBOR, Florida – The 2023 edition of the Valspar Championship is in the books, and for the first time in three years a new name will be added to the winner’s trophy. After taking on all comers on a cool and windy afternoon here on the Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, Taylor Moore finished 10-under par to end up on top after an exciting, ever changing final-round leaderboard.
Living up to its reputation the dreaded “Snake Pit” was the downfall for both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk as they both entered the “Snake Pit” at 10-under and left losing strokes. Spieth hit his tee shot into the water on the 16th for a bogey and a missed putt on the 18th green that cost him another. Schenk found his tee shot on the 18th hugging a tree which resulted in his par putt bouncing off the pin for a bogey 5, to finish solo second.
Taylor Moore won his first PGA Tour event. Prior to today’s win he had 45 PGA Tour starts without a victory. Taylor resides in Dallas, Texas and is a 2016 University of Arkansas graduate. He started the final round tied for 4th place at 6-under. His closing round of 67 with 5 birdies and 1 bogey was good enough for him to take home the Valspar Championship trophy and the $1,458,000 that goes along with it.
The Valspar Championship is played on the Copperhead Course, considered by some as one of the toughest golf courses in Florida, this atypical Florida course has major elevation changes and tree-lined fairways similar to a New England course. Shot selection was as important as a birdie putt, and bogeys were like paper cuts that just kind of happened when least expected.
A first look at this year’s championship field might have left some people scratching their heads and wondering “who are these guys?” It was certainty a slim field of top ranked players on the tour, but that soon became a passing thought when the first group tee off. Like any professional sport, sometimes it’s the relatively unknown players who brings to the game a breath of fresh air and a work ethic of a true professionals. This year’s tournament featured four of the top 15 players in the world, and three previous tournament winners.
During his post game interview, Taylor Moore talked about what it was like playing ahead of the leaders today and if he was aware of what they were posting for scores.
“Didn’t have any idea where they were but with my birdie on 9th followed with another on 12th that I felt I was in good shape if I just stayed focus,” said the happy first time winner who pocketed $1.458 million. “The birdie on the 15th did get me feeling that at 10-under I must be close to the leaders. Checked the leaderboard on the 17th green and saw that he was in a three-way tie.”
Other scores for today’s final round: (2) Adam Schenk -9, (T3) Tommy Fleetwood -8 and (3) Jordan Spieth -8, (5) Wyndham Clark -6, (6) Sam Burns -5. The next stop on the PGA Tour is the Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club, March 23-26, 2023.
The Valspar Championship has once again closed the “Florida Swing” with another outstanding tournament from start to finish. It had the perfect setting for both core fans and families to come together for four days to enjoy a venue that has something for everyone. Whether the PGA Tour designates the Valspar Championship an “elevated event” next year is unknown.
Until then the 2023 champion is Taylor Moore, a first time PGA Tour winner.
(PHOTOS: Pat Eastman)