Golf Buzz

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Charl Schwartzel faced this birdie putt at the 13th hole Sunday.

The greens at Innisbrook Resort and Club have been stingy all week, as evidenced by the low scores to par and struggles by even the leading contenders.

But Charl Schwartzel showed Sunday at the par-3 13th hole that they can be mastered. Facing a putt of some 64 feet -- nearly from one end of the green to the other -- he stepped up and hit a marvelous shot.

 

 

It was putts like that that kept Schwartzel in the hunt with the holes winding down Sunday in the final round of the Valspar Championship.

Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Sean O'Hair prepare for a playoff at the 2015 Valspar Championship.

In case anyone forgot, last year's final round of the Valspar Championship was, well, exciting to say the least.

Jordan Spieth, the not-yet-No. 1 player in golf, had a putt on 18 to save par and make it into a three-way playoff.

He sinks the putt, of course.

So Spieth, Patrick Reed and Sean O'Hair went to sudden death.

Then these three holes of dramatic golf.

 

 

Here's hoping for another thrilling final round at Innisbrook.

Here's some of the highlights from earlier in the week:

Spieth's eagle keeps him in contention

Justin Thomas doesn't need that putter

 

 

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas worked some green-side magic during the third round of the Valspar Championship.

The par-5 14th wasn't going excessively well for Just Thomas Saturday.

His second shot sent a spectator sprawling. (Said spectator was not hurt and got a golf glove/handshake from Thomas.)

Thomas' third stroke ended up on some scruffy downhill rough, just off the green.

Now his fourth, which honestly seemed to happen in slow motion.

 

 

The birdie took him to 3-under for the tournament.

Someone who also showed their pro-game on the 14th?

Jordan Spieth with this snake-like putt.

Game on Snake Pit. Game on.

LEADERBOARD: Valspar Classic | Saturday photos

 

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth made plenty of long putts during the third round at the Valspar Championship.

If you were within a few holes of 14 when Jordan Spieth stepped in to his putt for eagle, you probably heard the crowd's roar.

Spieth had already battled back to make the cut after shooting a 76 in the opening round.

Then Saturday he started doing things like this on what was shaping up to be a very fast Moving Day.

 

 

That putt helped him to a 4-under on the day and 2-under for the tournament.

Steve Stricker
PGA Tour via YouTube
Steve Stricker rode his unlikely eagle to a share of the halfway lead at Innisbrook.
 
As a part-time PGA Tour player, 49-year-old Steve Stricker has only started a handful of tournaments so far this season. This week, though, he's looked like he's in peak form.
 
After an opening 71, Stricker carded a 66 on Friday to grab a share of the halfway lead with Will MacKenzie at the Valspar Championship – and he got there in large part thanks to a 150-yard wedge shot on the par-4 10th hole that found the bottom of the cup for an unlikely eagle.
 
 
Stricker's drive was in perfect position in the fairway, and his approach shot arced perfectly from right to left. The landed in the heart of the green, hopped a couple of times and rolled right into the cup. Perfect!
 
That eagle came about an hour after Stricker had drained a 60-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole. He said after his round that his game was coming together, and the evidence surely supports that.
 
Here's his eagle:
 
 
Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg via Twitter
Mark Wahlberg showed off the Rory McIlroy-stamped ball he used to make a hole-in-one on Friday.
 
Actor and avid golfer Mark Wahlberg made a hole-on-one today, and quickly took to Twitter to tell the world about it. Wahlberg got his ace from 191 yards out with a 9-iron at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Beach, Calif.
 
Perhaps the most noteworthy part of his big shot was his choice of golf ball. As you can see in the photo above and the tweet below, Wahlberg made his hole-in-one with a Nike RZN sphere stamped "Rors" – for Rory McIlroy.
 
 
McIlroy saw Wahlberg's photo and responded with a congratulations and an admission – he hasn't yet made a hole-in-one with one of those balls. "I'll have to catch up," he replied on Twitter. 
 
Wahlberg and McIlroy met a while back when Wahlberg was in Ireland to promote the movie "Daddy's Home." The two had lunch in Dublin – McIlroy gave him a driver, and Wahlberg suggested the two get together for a round sometime. Wahlberg also narrowly missed a hole-in-one at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last month.
 
Not that McIlroy needs any inspiration to excel at golf, but all great athletes like to rise to a challenge. We probably need to put him on the official hole-in-one watch list.