The Fresh Coat - Friday March 14
THE FRESH COAT
Covering the Valspar Championship Daily
Robert Garrigus, who participated in 2012’s four-man playoff, fired the best round of the tournament late in the day Friday, a 5-under-par 66, to forge a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the Valspar Championship.
He leads Kevin Na who had a 68, with a closely bunched field behind them. Defending U.S. Open champion Justin Rose is among those at 3 under par, 2010 champion Jim Furyk among those at 2 under and young stars Jordan Spieth and Harris English at 1-under.
If there’s good fishing near a PGA TOUR event, Garrigus feels like he’s got a better shot to win the tournament. Garrigus won his only TOUR event at the 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney where he found excellent fishing earlier in the week.
And at the Valspar, Garrigus caught and released roughly 35 fish in the three days prior to the event. “The guys at the Island Course are awesome,” he said. “They give me a cart every time, fill it up with water. It’s so much fun, especially when you’re catching fish.”
As for his golf game, Garrigus is eight for eight in birdies on the par 5’s in the first two rounds. No other player in the 14-year tournament history has lead by three after 36 holes.
Na, the only player not to make a bogey in the first two rounds, shot a 3-under 68 including a chip-in from 23 feet on #9, his final hole.
Four players are tied for third at 3-under including the 7th ranked player in the world Justin Rose, 20-year-old Matteo Manassero and two first round co-leaders Pat Perez and Matt Every.
The total of 84 players making the cut is the 2nd highest total in tournament history. 86 players made the cut in 2010. There will be a 54-hole cut Saturday for the Top 70 and ties.
Nine of the 10 former champions of this event will play on the weekend. Only 2004 Champion, Vijay Singh, missed the 36-hole cut.
After the entire field failed to make an eagle in Round 1, there were five in Round 2, all on par 5s. .
One of four co-leaders after Round 1, Danny Lee shot an 8-over 79 to miss the cut. No first round leader or co-leader had missed the cut in the previous 13 years of this event.
It was not the high round of the day. John Daly set the new tournament record for a high score with a 90 that included a 12 on #16. The 90 is also the highest round in tournament history, erasing an 89 shot by Gary Leigh in the 2002 1st round. That had been the highest score by five shots prior to today.
There have only been three bogey-free rounds in the tournament, and Na owns two of them. Morgan Hoffmann shot a bogey free 69 in round two Friday.
The two players who have made the cut the most in this event added to their total this week. Jonathan Byrd (+1) has now made his 11th cut and Woody Austin (E) made his 10th.
The second round leader of this event has won three times. K.J. Choi in 2002 and 2006, and Retief Goosen in 2003.
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Play resumes on Saturday with a full slate of 84 players in 42 groups, all off the first tee beginning at 7:40 a.m.
Former champions Gary Woodland and Luke Donald will play together for the third straight day, going off at 11:00. Kevin Streelman and Justin Leonard, who played together in last year’s final round, will be paired again at 12:20.
Robert Garrigus and Kevin Na are the final group at 2:30, 10 minutes behind Justin Rose and Pat Perez.
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Immediately following Saturday’s play, up to 18 Tampa Bay area golfers will take a swing for a $1 million prize in the 3M Million Dollar Hole in One Challenge. Earlier in the past month, the golfers became eligible when they made a hole in one at a participating area golf course. Each competitor will have one swing to duplicate their hole in one at the 17th hole before the crowd in the Hooters Owl’s Nest. The first to ace will win $1 million. If no one aces, the person closest to the pin will receive a consolation prize.