Schwartzel rides lightning to Valspar victory

Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:36pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Charl Schwartzel secured his first victory in the United States since the 2011 Masters by beating Bill Haas in a playoff at the Valspar Championship in Florida on Sunday.

South African Schwartzel came from five shots behind in the final round to card a four-under-par 67 before beating Haas with a tap-in par at the first extra hole.

While the win will boost Schwartzel's confidence going into next month's Masters, world number one Jordan Spieth has some work to do as he tunes up for his title defence at Augusta.

Spieth carded a 73 on Sunday to tie for 18th on even par. He was outplayed by 22-year-old amateur Lee McCoy, who shot 69 to finish fourth.

Schwartzel turned up the heat on the leaders after the turn.

“I just caught lightning on the back nine. I’m very proud of myself,” he told Golf Channel.

“I was trying to hit mostly middle of the green, keep the ball in play and take the birdies where they came.”

Schwartzel and overnight leader Haas (72) finished regulation at seven-under-par, two strokes ahead of Ryan Moore on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

Haas then made a mess of the playoff hole, the par-four 18th, hitting a poor shot from a greenside bunker that afforded Schwartzel the luxury of two-putting for victory.   Continued...

February 14, 2016; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Bill Haas hits his bunker shot on the second hole during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports