J.J. Spaun Secures Final Masters Spot With Valero Texas Open Victory

The 31-year-old recovered from an early double-bogey to secure the biggest win of his career

Spaun smiles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Coming into the event, J.J. Spaun was without a PGA Tour victory in 146 starts. On his 147th, the American secured not only his first PGA Tour title, but the final spot at next week's Masters (opens in new tab), which gets underway on Thursday 7th April.

Beginning the final round, the leaderboard couldn't be much tighter, with a four-way tie between Spaun, Brandt Snedeker, Beau Hossler and Dylan Frittelli setting up a thrilling climax at the Valero Texas Open (opens in new tab).

However, for Spaun, his day couldn't have started much worse, with an opening double-bogey putting him instantly on the back foot. For the 31-year-old though, none of the pack were running away with the lead, as competitors struggled around the TPC San Antonio (opens in new tab) layout.

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

Following his disastrous start, Spaun battled back extremely well, with birdies at the 6th, 8th and 9th getting him back to one-under-par for the day and into a share of the lead, as was the lack of scoring going in Texas!

His momentum carried through to the back nine also, with an excellent approach to three-feet at the 11th, setting up his fourth birdie of the day to take him one-shot clear at the top of the leaderboard.

That advantage was soon doubled, with a crucial birdie putt from nine-feet dropping in for a two-shot advantage over a field that were perhaps thinking about the available spot at Augusta National next week.

Coming down the stretch, Spaun holed yet more crucial putts, with the American producing classy par saves at the 15th, 16th and 17th, before a wayward tee shot was yet again recovered on the 18th. Setting up another par save, the 31-year-old secured a two-shot win and, in the process, became the ninth first-time PGA Tour winner this year so far.

Spawn hugs his caddie

Spaun and his caddie, Mark Carens, celebrate on the 18th green after winning the 2022 Valero Texas Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Speaking after his victory, the 31-year-old said: "I think a year ago to even be on tour I would have been telling you I'd have to do a lot of work to get there, but to be here and to overcome a lot of things and finally get a win, that's everything you dream of. It's incredible. I'm speechless."

Not only did Spaun claim his first PGA Tour victory, but he was also the first player to win on the PGA Tour after starting his final round with a double-bogey since Tiger Woods (opens in new tab) at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.

Speaking about his opening double, Spaun didn't seem to be phased by it, with the American stating: "It didn't bother me as much as you would think, if anything it kind of calmed me down. I knew there was still a lot of golf and I would rather double the first hole than the last hole, so I just knew if I stayed patient and kept plugging away and put myself in contention with nine holes to play that's all I could ask for."

Spaun will now head to Augusta National (opens in new tab), where he will make his tournament debut and just his fourth Major start of his career.

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.