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Monday, March 12, 2018

The Limerick Summary: 2018 Valspar Championship

Winner: Paul Casey

Around the wider world of golf: Matt Wallace beat Andrew "Beef" Johnston to win the Hero Indian Open on the ET; Ashleigh Buhai won the Investec South African Women’s Open on the LET; Vijay Singh won the Toshiba Classic on the Champions Tour; and Martin Trainer won the El Bosque Mexico Championship on the Tour.

Paul Casey with Valspar trophy

And another drought comes to an end -- this time, it was nine years in the making (since 2009).

I've been waiting for Paul Casey to break through for years. (Some of you may remember the many times I picked him as a tournament favorite, only to have him come up just a bit short.) And this week it looked like he might miss out again, as he started the day five shots off the lead of a loaded leaderboard. Justin Rose, Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods (of course!) were all in the mix and all playing well.

And then... Casey came out firing, more than an hour ahead of the leaders. He tied his best round of the year (65), highlighted by the fewest number of putts in anybody's round since 2000 (21). And once he finished, he had a long wait to see what happened. After all, he figured one of the big guns would catch him. Right?

But he was wrong. Reed made the biggest run, starting with an eagle but bogeying his final hole to miss a playoff by just one stroke. Rose came out flat, shooting 2-over on the front nine. And Woods just wasn't as sharp -- to be expected, I think, given how long it's been since he was in contention -- though a birdie bomb on 17 kept his hopes alive. Nevertheless, he too came up a single shot short.

And just like that, Casey found that his long wait was over. And given how well he's played over the last few years, I'd say this win is certainly overdue.

Will this "open the floodgates," as the analysts are wont to say? I don't know. Our game is definitely top-heavy with talent right now, and with both Phil and Tiger both making a comeback, it's hard to believe that Casey will suddenly rocket to the top of the heap.

But that's irrelevant right now. It's hard to win on tour, any tour, and Paul Casey has done something many players go their entire careers and never experience -- he's hoisted yet another trophy. And since I do only one Limerick Summary each week, this one puts him in elite company!
Once Casey’s score made him “The Man,”
A long hour of waiting began.
But though Woods, Rose and Reed
Made a run at the lead,
In the end, only Casey would stand.
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