PALM HARBOR — Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor was awash in a sea of green last week, as the first round of the 2022 Valspar Championship’s started on March 17.
The Copperhead Course, already renowned for its lush fairways, went green to honor St. Patrick’s Day, as everyone from caddies to the fans to the pros decked out in the favorite color of the popular Irish holiday.
And while there was plenty to do, and see, off the course on the gorgeous, 70-degree day, with more hospitality tents and fan interaction areas dotting the course than ever, former major winners like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Jason Day kept the action on the links entertaining, too.
“The great thing about Florida is you can change your plans but still have a great time,” said Albany, New York native Tim Carney as he sat in a giant Valspar Adirondack chair with his 5-year-old dog, Loki. “I drove down here in an RV and was planning to go to some Spring Training games, but they haven’t started yet because of the lockout, so I decided to come here and see these guys play.”
While some came for the golf and others due to a change in plans, “Lucky” Lori O’Dell of New Port Richey came to Copperhead with one goal in mind — to win the “most colorful costume” contest.
“I dress up every year for everything!” said O’Dell, who was dressed from head-to-toe in Irish and lucky themed items, including an actual box of Lucky Charms cereal. “So, I knew I had to dress my best to come here to win today. They call me the crazy lady because I like to do this, but I don’t care! I have fun, and I’m gonna win!”
No word on whether O’Dell won the costume contest.
The tournament itself came down to a thrilling finish when, for the second year in a row, Sam Burns took the trophy. He defeated 25-year-old Davis Riley, who has never won a PGA Tour event, in a two-hole playoff, after both players shot 17-under par at the end of regulation play.