John Senden displayed a great short game to emerge victorious at the 2014 Valspar Championship.
When John Senden won the 2006 Australian Open following some majestic iron play over the final two holes, it would have been hard to fathom that the next time he would be posing with a trophy would be in March 2014.
But that’s exactly what happened. The lanky, likeable Queenslander won the 2014 Valspar Champiopnship today courtesy of some final hole heroics including some fantastic putts and an amazing chip in on the 16th hole.
With nine players within three shots of the lead, the tournament looked wide open as players approached the notoriously difficult closing holes at Copperhead known as the “Snake Pit”.
John Senden was in a three-way tie for the lead as he stood on the tee at the par-5 16th hole where only one birdie had been recorded all day. His drive found the trees but he managed to get his approach shot close to the green where he proceeded to chip the ball into the hole to for a shot clear of the field.
“I need to hit a really good shot here to get this up and down and try to have a chance to do something down the stretch as well, and then just got up there and just let it go and hit it and I thought it came out well.” Senden said.
“It disappeared. Was amazing. It felt good.”
John Senden has always been a ball-striking machine. From the year of his last victory in 2006, Senden has featured in the Top-20 ranked golfers on the PGA Tour for greens in regulation for all but last year – leading many to question his short game which seems like an obvious weakness.
“I’ve been working hard with Ian Triggs with it and Ian Baker-Finch gave me a few tips there awhile back and also Pat O’Brien out of Dallas, he’s been helping me out as well.” Senden said.
“Saying that, it has really sort of improved a few issues in regards to the posture and just working hard to lighten up and to — to believe that I’m hitting good putts all the time rather than just some of the time and letting me — letting the mental distractions change myself technically. I believe that today was a good test and hung on.”
The victory has earned John Senden another invitation to Augusta National, a place where he finished a respectable 35th last year – the first time in four starts he had made the cut.
On the back of his qualification for The Open Championship in July, John Senden is set for an exciting and (already) successful year.