Jordan Spieth looks to make the addition of the 2023 Valspar Championship to his playing schedule worthwhile as he heads into the final round at Innisbrook one stroke off Adam Schenk’s lead. Having not played in the Tampa area since 2018, Spieth’s inclusion of the Valspar could prove to be the catalyst for his summer should he convert this opportunity into a victory.
The 2015 champion began his Moving Day in emphatic fashion. Converting an eagle opportunity on the opening hole, Spieth’s name immediately jumped to the top of the leaderboard where it would remain until a final-hole bogey dropped him out of a share of the lead. Another birdie on the 5th pushed Spieth to 8 under before a rollercoaster final 12 holes featured five bogeys, four birdies and three pars. While the Texan was able to bounce back following each dropped shot, the up-and-down nature of Spieth’s play could give way for someone else to sneak into the winner’s circle at the Copperhead Course.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood looks destined to win on the PGA Tour sooner than later; he will begin Sunday tied with Spieth one adrift of Schenk. A winner this past fall on the DP World Tour, Fleetwood has positioned himself to finally breakthrough on U.S. soil but will need to go through not only the 54-hole leader but also Spieth, one the biggest names in the game.
1. Adam Schenk (-8): Playing in his 10th tournament in as many weeks, Schenk’s iron man mentality should serve him well in what is sure to be a difficult final round with a charging Spieth and steady Fleetwood nipping at his heels. He’s done just about everything right through 54 holes, but as we have seen before, that can change quickly on a Suday. While he may not have a victory on the PGA Tour, Schenk has played himself into the contention before, and perhaps those lessons are what will propel him to his first win.
T2. Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood (-7)
T4. Webb Simpson, Taylor Moore, Cody Gribble (-6)
T7. Patton Kizzire, Wyndham Clark, Matt Wallace (-5)
T10. Chad Ramey, Zac Blair, David Lingmerth, Michael Thompson, J.T. Poston, Davis Riley (-4)
The 2022-23 season has seen players such as Jason Day and Rickie Fowler flash, providing hints of their prime. Simpson appears to be the next to undergo a resurgence as it has been a struggle for the former U.S. Open winner following a neck injury last winter. Without a top-10 finish since the 2021 RSM Classic, the 37-year-old looks to not only post his best finish in quite awhile but possibly claim his eighth PGA Tour title.
“I’m just happy to be, have a late tee time on a Saturday. We have gotten tired of waking up at 7 a.m. on Saturdays when I made cuts. But it feels great. Certainly a familiar position that I feel like I’ve been able to have success on in the past,” said Simpson. “The nerves are there in a good way. It’s fun to be back. But it’s been awhile. More than, you know, expecting or hoping to win [Sunday], I’m just glad I have a chance. The work we’ve done the last few weeks are paying off, and it’s been fun.”
Spieth is officially trending
It’s hard not to love the trajectory of Spieth’s game, especially with a certain tournament at Augusta National on the horizon. After catching fire on the greens in Round 1, Spieth has employed a well-rounded effort the last two days. He ranks sixth in both strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained off the tee. His approach numbers have been sound, and if he is able to have a spike performance with his scoring clubs on Sunday, Spieth could leapfrog Schenk.
2023 Valspar Championship odds, picks
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Jordan Spieth: 13/5
- Tommy Fleetwood: 33/10
- Adam Schenk: 18/5
- Taylor Moore: 9-1
- Webb Simpson: 12-1
- Wyndham Clark: 16-1
- Cody Gribble: 22-1
- Matt Wallace: 30-1
Spieth is a previous winner here and stands as the clear star of this group. Needing to only pick up one stroke on Schenk, Spieth may well erase this margin by the time the first hole is over. He’s striking it admirably off the tee, which is quite rare, and I expect him to convert this well-behaved driving performance into a win in what is likely his last stroke-play event before the 2023 Masters. (Brace yourselves.)
Rick Gehman and Greg DuCharme break down Moving Day at the Copperhead Course. It’s storylines, scorecards and betting favorites from Round 3 of the Valspar Championship. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.