Golf

Valspar Championship: Paul Casey retains title with thrilling win in Florida

Paul Casey needed par on the final hole to retain the Valspar Championship

Paul Casey became the first man to retain the Valspar Championship after an enthralling final day in Florida.

Casey, 41, led by one overnight but dropped three shots on the opening nine as a pack of players applied pressure.

The Englishman was level with Jason Kokrak at eight under on the 18th hole but the American made bogey, meaning Casey needed par to win.

He found a bunker off the tee but hit the green and two-putted for a first win since taking last year’s title.

“It feels cool,” said Casey, who made bogey on 17 to briefly fall back to eight under alongside Kokrak. “It was messy but this course was so difficult and I did make errors. Looking at 72 holes, it was hard work.”

Casey was one clear of world number one Dustin Johnson going into the final round but his American playing partner started poorly, dropping shots on the third and fourth holes.

Instead, pressure came from South African Louis Oosthuizen, who shot a round of two under to take the clubhouse lead on seven under.

Oosthuizen finished his round moments before Casey and watched on a greenside monitor. Had Casey not made par on 18, a three-way play-off would have followed but the Briton’s smart shot from the sand and excellent putt left him a tap in for victory.

Casey added: “In my mind, it was like I was against the world number one – so beat him and I’ve got it. It turned out to be a very different scenario and I feel so good right now.”

He had waited more than three years for a victory before edging out Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed to take last year’s title by a single shot.

More to follow.

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