'This is a great break': Malnati takes advantage of rule in Valspar win

Peter Malnati knew what a great break it was.

Malnati was locked into a tie with Cam Young for the lead late Sunday at the Valspar Championship when his approach shot at Innisbrook’s treacherous 16th hole settled into a juicy lie in the rough just left of the green. From the look of things, an up-and-down par seemed a challenge, but that was before Malnati discovered a nearby sprinkler head interfering with his chipping stance.

The Rules of Golf allow players to take free relief from an immovable obstruction if it interferes with their intended swing or stance, provided that relief is within one club length and no closer to the hole.

Just to be safe, Malnati called in PGA Tour rules official Steve Rintoul, who had Malnati test several different stances to find his nearest point of complete relief.

“My nearest point is right here,” said Malnati, pointing to edge of first cut with his club.

Added walking reporter Aaron Oberholser: “This lie is terrible right now, so this could be a huge break.”

Rintoul then OK’d Malnati’s belief, and Malnati was permitted to drop in the shorter grass, his ball ending up on the fringe.

“I feel this is a great break, and I want you to be here,” Malnati told Rintoul as he was going through his drop process. He then asked Rintoul for further confirmation that he was proceeding correctly, “This is the right way to do it?” To which Rintoul nodded.

Malnati went on to hit a 50-foot putt about 5 feet past the hole, and he then made the clutch comebacker to save his par and stay even with Young.

And on the next hole, the par-3 17th, Malnati stuck his tee ball to 6 feet and sank the putt to push to 12 under. Young bogeyed his finishing hole up ahead while Malnati made a closing par to seal the two-shot win, his first PGA Tour win since his first at the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship.

A great break indeed.

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