Malnati scores 'amazing' first PGA win since 2015

An emotional Peter Malnati has claimed his second PGA Tour title and first since 2015 with victory in the Valspar Championship.

Malnati carded a final round of four-under-par 67 at Innisbrook Resort to finish 12 under, two shots clear of fellow American Cameron Young.

Young, who three-putted the 18th in a closing 68, remains without a PGA Tour victory and has now finished runner-up seven times, including in the 2022 Open Championship at St Andrews.

Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (70) and PGA Tour rookie Chandler Phillips (69) tied for third. They were among five players who had at least a share of the lead in the final round.

Malnati, who fought back tears in a post-round television interview, said: "I told myself I was going to do my best on every shot and that's what I did.

"I was so nervous coming down the stretch and the approach into 16 was terrible ... I just can't describe it. It's so cool. It's just amazing.

"You wonder if you're ever going to do it again because it's hard and in the nine years since my last win it's gotten a lot harder too.

"You look at the level of talent out here, guys coming out when they're 20 years old and they're ready to play on this stage and they're so good. So to have this moment it just feels so amazing."

Peter Malnati.
Peter Malnati reacts after sealing the deal on the 18th in Palm Harbor. (AP PHOTO)

Malnati had earlier admitted he enjoyed a massive slice of luck on the 16th, hitting his approach through the green into thick rough but being allowed to drop away from a sprinkler head interfering with his stance.

That meant his ball ended up on the fringe of the green.

After two-putting from long range for par, Malnati hit a superb tee shot on the par-three 17th to set up a birdie from six feet as Young, in the group ahead, found trouble off the tee on his way to a closing bogey.

More than the $US1,512,000 ($A2.3 million) from winning, Malnati goes to the Masters for the first time and gets a two-year exemption. He also is assured of getting into the remaining four $US20 million ($A31 million) signature events without any help.

Overnight leader Keith Mitchell and playing partner Seamus Power endured final rounds to forget, the pair shooting 77 and 76 respectively to slump down the leaderboard.

Australian Aaron Baddeley (69) finished four under and tied for 17th.

With AP.