PALM HARBOR — Paul Casey closed with 6-under 65 and won the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook after watching Tiger Woods come up one putt short of a playoff.
A highly charged PGA Tour event ended with one player ending a long victory drought – just not the one most fans came to see.
Casey ran off three straight birdies early on the back nine to take the lead, and he closed with tough pars to finish at 10-under 274, one shot better than Woods and Patrick Reed. No one caught him, giving Casey his first PGA Tour victory since the 2009 Houston Open.
Woods charged up the record crowd with a birdie putt from just inside 45 feet on the 17th hole to get within one shot. He laid well back off the 18th tee and hit his approach from 185 yards to just inside 40 feet. The birdie chance to force a playoff was 2 feet short.
Woods closed with 1-under 70 for his highest finish in an official tournament since he tied for second at the Barclays in 2013.
Reed squandered a chance to force a playoff when a long birdie putt rolled 45 feet back to his feet and he three-putted for bogey on 18.
More to come.