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All The Respect In The World For Adam Schenk Going Lefty On The 72nd Hole To Try To Salvage A Par And Force A Playoff At Valspar

What a phenomenal Sunday we had at the Valspar. It was tight all weekend, with a couple of relative unknowns looking for their first PGA Tour win (Adam Schenk and Taylor Moore), and a couple of big time names looking to spoil their party (Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood.... who is actually still looking for that 1st PGA Tour win too). 

There were plenty of fireworks along the way, particularly Spieth going full Spieth on 16 with a massive block into the drink while in the co-lead.... and making a miraculous bogey anyway. Just before standing over that 15 footer to save that bogey, Taylor Moore was up on 18 cleaning up a 5-footer to par to post -10 as the clubhouse lead.

Fast forward a couple holes for the final group and Spieth and Schenk are each on the 18th tee. Schenk needed par to force a playoff, and Spieth needed birdie. Schenk hooked his tee shot hard left, and Spieth missed left as well. Schenk's shot ended up against a tree where you see it in the video at the top of this blog, an awful break for sure.

There's a variety of options here, but it really boiled down to two true options.

A.) take an unplayable drop that would give him a full swing on his 3rd and hope to hit a miraculous blind hook somewhere onto the green and bury a par putt

B.) flip the club over lefty and punch out, and try to get up and down from there.

Option A probably has a lower ceiling and a higher floor, and is probably the correct play on any given hole on Thursday. Option B there are a wild variety of outcomes, but it's surely easier to get up and down for par from somewhere you can take a direct path at the flag, and the fairway is a bonus.

After an appropriate dejected reaction, Schenk and his bagman talked through those options… and his guy encouraged him to take option A. On the 72nd hole with a maiden PGA Tour victory on the line! Just a despicable lack of onions from his guy.

Thankfully Schenk ignored him and went for the hero shot anyway

And he hit it too good! I honestly can't remember if it was the broadcast or Schenk and his caddie who mentioned it wasn't even necessarily the goal to get the punch-out to the fairway, simply to get to some place where he could take a direct shot at the flag… but he found a way to hit the punch-out too damn flush.

Anyways, Schenk still obviously had to hit the thing tight and make a putt, and he failed to hit it tight. Still went at it full gas from 35 feet down the hill and scared the hole. 

Brutal outcome for a bold approach. So much respect for Schenk for the way he went for gold throughout that hole. So disappointing that he didn't get what he came for.

With that said, you can still say fortune favors the bold, because Spieth hit his approach from the left rough to a similar spot as Schenk on the green, and rolled his to about 4 feet. Schenk buried his 5 foot 6 incher for bogey, and it sure looked like the two of them were walking off with T-2 and $720,900 each. 

Except Spieth blew his putt by the hole, leaving Schenk in solo 2nd and a full $882,900! PLUS a full 300 FedEx Cup points instead of the 245 he would have gotten with T-2, which is a massive 55 point bonus for a guy who is by no means a surefire lock to keep his card every year. T-2 would've likely been enough to do the trick for his card, but it lands him that much closer to landing in that exclusive Top 50 at year-end that will put him in allll those big time limited field events with tons of guaranteed paychecks. Cannot understate how big that is for him, even if he didn't walk away with the hardware today.

All of that mayhem on 18 surely takes away from Taylor Moore, who… yanno… won the damn tournament today. 67 on Sunday in some brutal conditions, including 3 birdies on his last 7 holes was big time stuff. I feel for him a bit because the way all of it went down surely took away from his moment. PGA Tour social hasn't even posted his huge par putt on 18 yet. They got his birdie on 16 to join the lead on the toughest hole on the course.

But then I stop feeling bad because he's walking away with nearly $1.5M and a Tour card for 2 years.

Congrats to Taylor and big ups to Schenk for having big time balls on Sunday.