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Senden wins the Valspar Championship

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John Senden held off a number of players on a wild Sunday at the Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course to secure his second victory on the PGA Tour and first since winning the John Deere Classic in 2006.

Senden, 42, is two-time runner up at this tournament, but this year he was able to climb in front down the stretch and displayed some important scrambling abilities, while also receiving a slice of fortune on the way to victory.

Click here to see photos of the clubs Senden had in the bag this week.

On a Sunday where the leaderboard was ever changing, there seemed to be a large amount of birdies and bogeys, as a number of players looked as though they could sneak toward the victory at any given time. The closing three holes, appropriately nicknamed The Snake Pit, acted as a difficult proposition for players as per normal. Yet, it was here that Senden ensured that he would earn his second victory, earning birdies on both No. 16 and No. 17 before making a key par at the difficult 18th.

It was at No. 16 where destiny appeared to be on Senden’s side, as he pitched in for birdie when bogey seemed more likely. Senden propelled himself up the leaderboard with a stunning Saturday bogey-free round of 64, equaling Retief Goosen for the best round of the week. Senden’s Saturday performance was somewhat surprising, as he made the cut at just 1-over par.

In the face of Senden’s impressive closing stretch, American Kevin Na refused to go away, even in the wake of a poor front nine that he played in 3-over. Na found his groove after making the turn, making a birdie on No. 14 before making a clutch birdie on No. 17 to set himself up for a chance to send the tournament to a playoff. Na made a series of skillful up-and-downs to push him toward the top of the leaderboard, but a birdie on the No. 18 was too much to ask and Na made par for a second-place finish.

54-hole leader Robert Garrigus, much like Na, had a front nine to forget. Playing the first nine holes in 5-over, Garrigus faded away early and was never a major factor on Sunday afternoon. Garrigus looked calm and collected throughout the first two-and-a-half rounds, but then made the turn on Saturday and seemingly lost his momentum, failing to make another birdie until No. 14 on Sunday. A rough double bogey on No. 3 set the tone for the rest of his round, as Garrigus finished up with a final-round 75, good enough for a T4 finish at 4-under with Will MacKenzie and Luke Donald, the latter a winner at this tournament two years ago.

Another strong showing came from Scott Langley, the third year pro out of the University of Illinois. Langley, 24, produced some wild scorecards over four days, but made 17 birdies in total on his way to a solo third-place finish at 5-under. This was Langley’s first top-10 of the season, building off of the top-20 finish he earned at the Puerto Rico Open last week.

Senden, who went into this weekend ranked 123rd in the Official World Golf Ranking standings, has not only pushed himself into the top-15 of the FedEx Cup standings, but has now also obtained an invitation to Augusta next month.

A side note from the Valspar Championship is that two-time major champion John Daly shot his worst ever round with a 90 on Friday afternoon, including a 12 on the par-4 16th hole.

The Florida Swing continues next weekend, with the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando.

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Jake Sandler is a golf fanatic, just like you. He is enrolled at university in Canada, studying history and political science, though he links those to the history or politics of golf at any opportunity. He once started a round going birdie, par, birdie, and probably should have walked off the course then.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2020 RSM Classic

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GolfWRX is live from Sea Island Golf Club in St,. Simons Island, Georgia for the RSM Classic.

Coming the week after the Masters, plenty of players from the tournament in Augusta are making their way 3.5 hours South to the Davis Love III-hosted event.

We have six general galleries of photos for you to check out as well as new shafts from UST Mamiya and a welcome resurrection of two decade-old White Hot putter models.

General Galleries

Other Galleries

See what GolfWRXers and join the discussion in the forums: 2020 RSM Classic WITB Photos- discussion

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Photos from the 2020 Houston Open

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GolfWRX is live from the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course, where players who, well, like to play before majors are playing (including Mav McNealy with some vintage Nike blades in the featured image).

The likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson will be making their final tune-ups before next week’s test at Augusta National.

On the subject of tuning, players who will be competing at ANGC are getting their bags dialed and those who won’t are free to experiment as they start to consider their 2021 artillery.

General galleries

Special galleries

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Interesting photos from the Zozo Championship

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This week is the Zozo Championship at Sherwood Golf Club, and with most of the worlds top golfers including Tiger Woods playing and prepping for the November Masters, there is a lot going on around the range when it comes to gear and testing.

As a reminder, you can check out all of our photos in the GolfWRX forums.

New Fourteen irons and wedges

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The irons are a throwback to a classic “channel back” style iron with mass positioned towards the top and bottom of the face to increase vertical stability of the blade while also maintaining feel.

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Justin Rose with Artisan lob wedge

The little shop from Texas continues to make big waves with more wedges spotted on tour every week including in former world number 1 Justin Rose.

Xander Schauffele’s new Apex irons and testing putters on Quintic

Xander’s prototype Callaway Apex irons look a lot like the newly released 2021 X-Forged irons but with obvious Apex branding. We also can’t forget about putting, and it’s cool to see a Quintic high-speed camera system on the practice green getting players dialed in to launch conditions just like how they would for a driver.

Ricky using older generation Cobra Amp Cell Pro Irons

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If there is one thing pros love, it’s a set of older irons—they’re the golf equivalent of putting on a pair of comfy broken-in jeans. For Ricky and his custom Amp Cell Pro’s with tungsten toe inserts, there must be some magic there because he has previously used multiple newer sets of irons but continues to gravitate towards these.

Hideki Maruyama testing new Bettinardi putter

Hideki isn’t someone to shy away from testing putters, and this week he was spotted testing one of the new Bettinardi putters that debuted last week in Las Vegas at Shadow Creek.

Pros are “just like us” – Justin Thomas and Mac Hughes edition

Yes, tour pros are just like us except for the fact that they are exceptional golfers, but even JT likes help in his long game and has a Titleist T300 3-iron in the bag, and when it comes to breakfast Mackenzie Hughes happens to like ketchup with his breakfast sandwich—although personally, I’m anti-ketchup when it comes to breakfast sandwiches.

Mickelson testing older X-Hot 3Deep

We’ve heard rumblings, of Champions Tour terminator Phil Mickelson testing 47.5″ drivers in the name of speed and distance, but as a way to also have a “fairway finder” it appears that he is contemplating putting his old X-Hot 3Deep in play. (Being able to identify a multi-generations old fairway wood from a distance based on its paint scheme is part of the reason we are WRX)

Gary Woodland testing Ping G425 driver

With the launch of the Ping G425 woods on tour a few weeks ago, it’s no surprise to see more players testing them in prep for the Masters, and for the fact that, they are the next evolution of the well-loved Ping G410—Gary Woodland is no exception.

 

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