PALM HARBOR - Australian John Senden birdied two of the last three holes in impressive fashion Sunday to win the Valspar Championship, his first US PGA title in eight years. The 42-year-old from Brisbane sank a 68-foot chip shot to birdie the 16th and a 22-foot birdie putt at 17 on his way to claiming the $1.02 million (733,600 euros) top prize at the $5.7 million (4.09 million euros) event. "I'm just so happy to come out on top," Senden said. "I just went out there and felt comfortable throughout the first 10 or 12 holes. Then I started to make a few little errors and get a little uptight on the back nine, but made some really nice saves and putts coming down the stretch."
Since his lone prior US PGA win at the 2006 John Deere Classic, Senden had played 205 events with four runner-up efforts his best showings. Senden fired a one-under par 70 in the final round to finish 72 holes at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook on seven-under par 271, defeating American Kevin Na by one stroke. "With the difficulty of the course, the winning score always stays in single figures so I knew if I could just stay in the moment I could just give it a shake," Senden said.
Senden, who was second at this event in 2007 and 2008, booked a berth in next month's Masters and became the first over-40 winner on the US PGA Tour since American Woody Austin last July. Clinging to a share of the lead, Senden sank his pitch from the rough at the par-4 16th to seize the top spot, dropping the wedge shot short and watching the ball roll into the cup. "It was just like a magic shot," Senden said. On 17, he followed with the long birdie putt to grab a two-stroke edge and parred the last to set the mark to beat. "At 17 I had the line and struck in well and it went right in the middle," Senden said.