Jordan Spieth and his world-class short game came up big in a playoff victory Sunday during the Valspar Championship at Palm Harbor, Fla.
Spieth capped off an afternoon of back-nine charges, clutch putts and unseemly par saves by making a 30-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole of a playoff at Innisbrook to beat Ryder Cup teammates Patrick Reed and Sean O'Hair.
“A crazy back nine,” said Spieth, who won for the second time in his PGA Tour career and fourth time worldwide to reach a career-high No. 6 in the world.
The 21-year-old Spieth was three shots behind with six holes to play when he made two birdies to catch a faltering Ryan Moore, and then saved par on his final three holes for a two-under 69 to join the playoff. And these par saves were not what anyone would call routine.
With his right foot in the bunker and his left foot on grass well above the ball in the sand, he blasted out to within three feet on the 16th. From deep rough on a hill, he hit a flop shot to a short pin to within six feet to stay tied for the lead. And he holed a 12-foot par putt on the 18th that fell in the left side of the cup.
Reed was just as impressive with his short game to keep his hopes alive in the eighth and perhaps most compelling playoff on the PGA Tour this season. He buried a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a bogey-free 66, pumping his fist as if he were still in Gleneagles at the Ryder Cup.
Reed was the first to finish at 10-under 274.
On the 18th hole in a playoff, he was buried in the lip of a bunker, blasted out to within 10 feet and made par to stay in the game after Spieth missed from 10 feet. On the next playoff hole, the tough 16th, Reed had no chance well behind the green in grass so deep he could barely see his ball. That came out perfectly for another par.
Reed, who went the final 29 holes without a bogey on the Copperhead course, never had a chance to try for a third par save when Spieth hit the winner.
Not to be overlooked was O'Hair, who has had to earn his full PGA Tour card the last two years in the Web.com Tour Finals. He poured in a pair of big birdies on the back nine, including a 30-footer on the 16th, and made a tough par save on the 18th in regulation.
O'Hair had a 12-foot birdie putt for the win on the second extra hole, and the putt caught the right side of the cup.
Spieth earned a small measure of redemption against Reed, a friend and Ryder Cup partner. Reed beat him in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship in 2013 for the first of Reed's four PGA Tour wins.
So Yeon Ryu won her first World Ladies Championship title, beating third-round leader and defending champion Inbee Park by one shot in the European Tour tournament at Haikou, China.
Ryu, the 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion, trailed her fellow South Korean by a shot ahead of the final round on Mission Hills' Blackstone Course.
Ryu, ranked No. 8 in the world, shot 69 for 13-under 279 — including a third-round 65 — while second-ranked Park shot a final-round 71.
Park led by three strokes when Ryu double-bogeyed the par-four seventh, sending her tee shot into black lava rocks and taking a penalty drop. The 24-year-old Ryu responded with three birdies in four holes from the ninth.
Both Ryu and Park failed birdie attempts on the 18th before Ryu tapped in a par putt from two feet to win.
“The winning putt, no matter how long it is, is always nervous,” Ryu said. “My hands were literally shaking.”
Suzann Pettersen of Norway and China's Xiyu Lin both shot 70 to tie for third at 10 under.
George Coetzee won the Tshwane Open in Pretoria, South Africa, at the golf course he grew up playing on, making birdie on No. 17 to take the title by a shot from Jacques Blaauw.
Coetzee finished at 14-under 266 with his final-round 65 at the par-70 Pretoria Country Club, where he is a member. It was his second win on the European Tour following his Joburg Open victory last year.
Fellow South African Blaauw had a chance at his first European title with the clubhouse lead at 13 under after a course record-equaling 61 in the South African capital, with nine birdies and no dropped shots. Blaauw made six birdies in seven holes around the turn to set a tough target.
But the Pretoria-born Coetzee, one of six players tied for the lead overnight, kept his nerve. Trying to drive the green on No. 17, he sent his tee shot into some trees. He chipped out to within five feet and made the decisive birdie, his fifth of the round.
That left him to par the last and triumph in front of family and friends at the club where he first won a junior tournament at the age of 10.
“It's perfect playing my home course and winning this,” the 28-year-old Coetzee said. “I never thought as a kid that I would play a European Tour event at my home club.”