Golf: Aussie's one-stroke win gives him chance at Masters

Aussie golfer John Senden will return to the Masters. Photo / AP
Aussie golfer John Senden will return to the Masters. Photo / AP

John Senden earned a return to the Masters, banked more than US$1 million ($1.16 million) and buried some troublesome demons with a drought-breaking victory in the US PGA Tour's Valspar Championship golf tournament yesterday.

The 42-year-old from Brisbane claimed just his second title in more than 12 seasons on the tour - almost eight years after the first - when he birdied two of the last three holes of the difficult Copperhead Course in Florida yesterday.

The run included a "magic" chip-in on the 16th for birdie and was enough for a one-stroke win from American Kevin Na as he posted a closing one-under to finish at seven-under 271. Most importantly it boosted his belief as he prepares to return to major championship golf, having earned starts in next month's Masters and also the US PGA Championship.

"Winning again is something that makes you believe more that you can get it done again rather than, you know, just once," said Senden, who has played 205 US tour events, with four runner-up finishes - including two on the same Copperhead course - since his 2006 John Deere Classic win.

"It stops you thinking, was [the 2006 win] something out of the blue or a flash in the pan?

"I didn't believe so but now it feels like it consolidates my belief."

The victory has Senden projected to climb back to No58 in the world rankings after slipping to No123 in the wake of an injury-affected 2013.

He's set to join defending champion Adam Scott and fellow countrymen Jason Day, Marc Leishman and amateur Oliver Goss at Augusta National.

"Augusta is one of the greatest tournaments ever and to get back there again this year will be fantastic and it's amazing," Senden said. "I can reset the schedule a little bit more and keep believing that I can produce this form to give myself a chance at the ultimate dream of winning a major championship."

- AAP

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