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 13 March. 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 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.
"It really is a great feeling. Winning back in 2011, the biggest tournament in our sport, your expectations go up and I figured that I would win a few times the way I played there and it just never came," Schwartzel told reporters.
"There's nothing like, that gets you focused like winning so Augusta has always been a place I feel very comfortable with and for me the best thing of all of it is I've actually got my fade back, I grew up hitting a fade, I can fade the ball again and those, on that golf course hitting your second shots into those greens, it's really important to be able to do that and putting feels better," he added.
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.
Schwartzel's victory was his third in his last six starts after winning twice in European Tour events back home. It was his 15th professional victory worldwide but just his second on the PGA Tour after his Augusta National triumph five years ago.