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Golf | US PGA Tour

Paul Casey © Gallo Images

Casey wins Valspar, Woods one behind

Englishman Paul Casey surged to victory at the Valspar Championship in Florida on Sunday as Tiger Woods finished one stroke behind in a tie for second place.

Woods lamented a "couple of putts here and there" that could have produced a different outcome but his performance nevertheless was unmistakable proof that he is a force again after last April's spinal fusion on his lower back.

He said he felt comfortable mentally on Sunday but had not quite had his best game.

"I didn't feel that sharp with my iron game," Woods told NBC. "I played very conservatively into the greens because I wasn't as sharp as yesterday.

"I keep getting just a little bit better and a little bit sharper (in general).

"Today wasn't quite as sharp as I would like to have had it but I had a good chance at winning this tournament. A couple of putts here and there and it could have been a different story."

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The old Tiger magic was missing for most of the day for the 14-times major champion in his quest for a chance to record his first victory since 2013.

Missing, that is, until the par-three 17th, where Woods perfectly read and then executed a 45-foot birdie putt, his ball curling deliciously into the centre of the cup as the gallery went berserk.

But Woods could not replicate the magic at the par-four 18th, where he missed a difficult 40-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff with Casey at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbour.

Woods carded 70 and had to settle for second with fellow American Patrick Reed (68), who made an embarrassing bogey at the last when his first putt, through the fringe, failed to make it up the hill and rolled all the way back to his feet.

When the dust settled, Casey, long in the clubhouse with a 65 for 10-under 274, could finally celebrate his second victory on the PGA Tour.

"The guy's got more victories than all of us put together," a relieved Casey, the former world No 3, said of Woods.

"He made it look easy for such a long time and it's not. I won a few times in Europe (13) but to get my second victory on the PGA Tour, it's emotional. I've worked hard for it.

"I lost a friend last Saturday, played with a heavy heart. Maybe that was the difference."


274 - Paul Casey (ENG) 70-68-71-65

275 - Patrick Reed 71-69-67-68, Tiger Woods 70-68-67-70

276 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 70-72-69-65

277 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 70-71-67-69, Justin Rose (ENG) 70-69-66-72

278 - Jim Furyk 70-73-69-66

279 - Jason Kokrak 72-67-72-68, Webb Simpson 71-68-70-70, Branden Grace (RSA) 73-68-68-70, Trey Mullinax 72-68-69-70

280 - Adam Hadwin (CAN) 71-70-71-68, Steve Stricker 70-71-70-69, Sean O'Hair 71-68-71-70, Sam Burns 71-69-67-73

281 - Jamie Lovemark 72-73-68-68, Ryan Blaum 73-69-70-69, T.J. Vogel 73-70-69-69, Abraham Ancer (MEX) 72-73-67-69, Zach Johnson 73-68-69-71, Blayne Barber 70-70-70-71, William McGirt 71-70-69-71, Luke List 70-71-69-71, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 71-69-69-72, Adam Scott (AUS) 70-73-66-72, Russell Knox (SCO) 69-74-66-72, Corey Conners (CAN) 67-69-68-77


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