It’s the sting in the tail.
The three-hole litmus test at the end of a round that makes the drink in the clubhouse afterwards all that much sweeter or one that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
For John Senden, the ‘Snake Pit’ at the Innisbrook Resort in Florida has been the site of some of his finest moments on the PGA TOUR.
After missing last year’s tournament to devote time to his family, Senden returns to the Copperhead Course as the 2014 champion and a two-time runner-up in 2007 and 2008.
Those results represent half of all the top-two finishes that Senden has recorded in 442 career starts on the PGA TOUR and will provide some level of confidence as he endeavours to play his way into more tournaments in 2019.
With his medical extension now expired, Senden is playing this week in a reorder category having finished outside the top 150 in last year’s FedEx Cup with a best finish of tied for 57th at the Farmers Insurance Open in seven starts to date.
When Senden triumphed at Innisbrook in 2014 it broke a seven-year winless drought and owed much to wrangling the ‘Snake Pit’ better than any other player in contention.
A chip-in birdie at the brutally tough 16th hole to take the lead outright and then doubled his advantage with a birdie at the par-3 17th, a tap-in par at the last securing the second win of his PGA TOUR career.
Joining Senden in the field at the Valspar Championship are Aussie No.1 Jason Day, Matt Jones, Cameron Davis and Rod Pampling.
Day’s confidence is building after a tie for eighth at THE PLAYERS championship last week and is making his first appearance at Innisbrook in six years.
In his rookie season Davis is playing the Valspar Championship for the first time, Jones is returning for the first time since missing the cut in 2013 while Pampling has qualified for the weekend in each of the past two years.
Kiwi Danny Lee has been a regular at Innisbrook with a best finish of tied for seventh in 2015.
The Web.com Tour resumes this week with the Chitimacha Louisiana Open where five Australians and a lone Kiwi will tee it up.
Cameron Percy and Rhein Gibson both currently sit inside the top-25 on the moneylist and are joined in the field by Brett Drewitt, Brett Coletta and Jamie Arnold while New Zealand’s Tim Wilkinson will be out to improve his position of 35th on the order of merit.
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