Campillo suffers the 'Snake pit' in Innisbrook

It's no coincidence that the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort takes its name from a species of snake abundant in Florida's mangroves

by Andrea Gussoni
Campillo suffers the 'Snake pit' in Innisbrook
© Getty Images Sport - Warren Little / Staff

It's no coincidence that the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort takes its name from a species of snake abundant in Florida's mangroves. Nor is it a surprise that its challenging final stretch, from holes 16 to 18, is popularly known as The Snake Pit.

PGA Tour statistics indicate it's the third toughest final trio of holes on the circuit, averaging nearly five strokes over par (a 4 on the 16th, a 3 on the 17th, and another 4 on the 18th), while the rest of the course averages -2.6.

Jorge Campillo, results

"For something they call it that," remarked dandy Keith Mitchell on Saturday after sinking an iron shot from 138 meters on the 18th to take the lead in the Valspar Championship. That pinpoint shot, which landed near the flag and rolled into the hole, made him the first player in history to cover the segment in -4.

Mark Brooks (2002) and Vijay Singh (2004) had previously achieved -5. Jorge Campillo had a much rougher time there on Sunday, during what seemed like a rollercoaster round for him. He was +1 with three bogeys and two birdies until then and struggled: he made a 5 on the 16th after sending his drive into the trees and, after a great 3 on the 17th, stumbled again on the 18th, visiting the rough and the bunker guarding the entrance to the treacherous green.

In the end, a bitter +3, tarnishing his Friday performance when he got into the mix with a -3, after a quiet Saturday. The Extremaduran finished 49th, 22 places worse than the day before, which will cost him a drop in the FedEx ranking after entering the week 137th, close to the top 125, who retain their card for the next season (below that, playing rights are more limited).

Nevertheless, the feelings, with three cuts made in four tournaments and a top-20 in Mexico, suggest a multi-year adventure for Campi on the tour. He wasn't the only one the golf gods mistreated in the final round. Mitchell, who started the finale with a three-stroke lead, squandered it with a disastrous first nine holes, with bogeys on the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 9th, wasting the par 5s on the 1st and 5th.

His ordeal didn't end there: he added three more bogeys and a double bogey in the second half and finished 25th with a score of +6 to -4. His partner in the featured group, Irishman Power, also had a tough afternoon, +5 to -3.

Through the door they left open, on a day prolific in oddities like Robby Shelton's albatross on the 14th (the 139th since 1983 on the PGA) or the three chips holed by Carl Yuan, Cameron Young and Peter Malnati slipped in, engaging in a tight duel in the final holes that ultimately smiled on the latter, a member of the PGA Players Advisory Council and thus one of the architects of the deal with the LIV being finalized behind the scenes these days, who with a -4 to -12 tearfully secured his second victory on the circuit, the first since the 2015 Sanderson Farms.

Young once again came tantalizingly close, finishing second for the seventh time in 60 starts on the North American tour. A delightful swing that, for now, isn't winning tournaments.