Monday, March 14

Charl Schwartzel: 'You're Just Surviving'

IT TOOK A WHILE, BUT SOUTH AFRICAN Charl Schwartzel has now picked up his second PGA Tour title by winning the Valspar Championship on the brutal Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. Charl's playoff victory came at the expense of Bill Haas, who led all the way on Sunday until he slipped into a tie at 7-under at the end of regulation.

Schwartzel, of course, won the 2011 Masters with one of the best finishes I've ever seen in a major. Maybe the best, period. For the record, the finish was 4-2-3-3 (four consecutive birdies for a 66). He has won in Europe, South Africa and Asia since then, but hadn't made much noise in America until yesterday.

"I think everyone's goal going out was basically just to keep bogeys off the card," Schwartzel told Golf Channel's Steve Sands after carding a 67. "You're just surviving. … It was really difficult with the wind gusting."

Knowing an opportunity slipped through his fingers, Haas (72) was gracious in defeat.

"Charl had the mentality of needing to shoot a good score," Haas said, "and he did, and that was a hard thing to do. I had the mentality, 'If I shoot even par, I win.' Pars were kind of good. ... I won't beat myself up too bad. I've got to give Charl credit."

Playing alongside World No. 1 Jordan Spieth in the final round, University of Georgia golfer Lee McCoy posted the best PGA Tour finish (fourth) by an amateur in a very long time.

"Surreal to say the least," McCoy told Sands about the experience.

"I've always dreamt of just getting a tee time here on Thursday [at this event]. Being in contention on Sunday playing with the No. 1 player in the world was something that never crossed my mind. I really had to pinch myself a few times today... It's really incredible to see a guy in [Jordan Spieth's] position have so much class. At the end of the day I'm still just a little college [amateur] scrub just playing out here with these guys trying to fit in. But he had nothing but great things to say and treated me like I belonged out here and it was pretty cool."

Quite a "scrub," I'd say. These college kids are fearless. McCoy even made 22-year-old Spieth look a little bit old. Ha!

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