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J.J. Spaun earns his first PGA Tour victory at Valero

His game was in a dark place. He was on his way to losing his PGA TOUR card. He was lost.

But then he found something.

The 31-year-old Spaun made a slight adjustment to his putting grip last week and won the Valero Texas Open on Sunday, his first in 147 TOUR starts.

Spaun started the final round with a share of the lead at 10 under. He lost it briefly, opening Sunday with a double bogey. He recovered with birdies at the sixth and eighth holes. He holed a greenside lob shot for another at the ninth. It was at precisely that moment that Spaun wondered if his good play could last long enough to let him win.

He shot 5-under 67 in the first round this year and was on his way. By Sunday, Spaun had committed to caution on a hard golf course in shifting winds.

Spaun’s opening double bogey dropped him to 8 under, with Beau Hossler, Dylan Frittelli and Brandt Snedeker leading.

Those players and many others encountered their own problems. Spaun was done with his.

He made six birdies and no bogeys through the rest of the final round. He made every crucial putt on the back nine.

Spaun became the first player to endure a double bogey on the first hole and proceed to win on TOUR since Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open.

On a day of many firsts, Spaun held a PGA TOUR trophy for the first time. He knew exactly how long he could last.

 

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