Adam Schenk’s putter put him in position to win his first PGA Tour tournament.
His driver, though, ultimately took him out of it.
Locked in a back-and-forth battle with playing competitor Jordan Spieth and a couple others Sunday afternoon at the Valspar Championship, Schenk became the first player to reach double digits by canning a 71-foot birdie bomb at the par-4 12th hole of Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course. And when Taylor Moore posted 10 under, Schenk holed a 16-footer for par at the par-3 penultimate hole to remain tied for the lead.
But moments later, Schenk hit arguably his worst tee shot of the week. His ball ended up inches from a tree trunk, the tough break leaving Schenk will few options.
Ultimately, Schenk decided to hit a left-handed lay-up at the par-4 finishing hole, but he sent his ball through the fairway. From 98 yards, Schenk’s third shot failed to get to the back shelf, and his ball rolled back into the fringe, some 40 feet away.
Putting for par, Schenk cared little for protecting what would be his third career runner-up finish if he made bogey.
“I want to close one out some day, but how many chances am I going to have?” Schenk said he thought to himself. “So, I'm not leaving this putt short. I'm getting it to the hole.”
He did that alright.
And it was on the correct line.
It just had too much pace. Way too much.
Schenk’s putt to force a playoff appeared to graze the flagstick, which Schenk left in, before hitting the back lip hard and bouncing out of the cup, to 5 feet behind the hole.
Full-field scores Valspar Championship
Schenk would make the comebacker, and with Spieth missing his par putt to fall into a share of third with Tommy Fleetwood, Schenk earned a $882,900 consolation prize for his first top-10 finish of the season.
Not that the check totally eased the sting.
“It stinks,” Schenk said. “I hit a really bad drive on the last hole. I toed it. Wish I could have lightly hit somebody and stayed where I had a chance to get to the green, but it did not, and I didn't deserve it. I had a chance with the wedge shot that came up short, and then I had a chance with the putt, which surprisingly actually hit the pin and came close.
“It stinks to get so close, but great week all in all, so I can't really complain.”