Fresh Coat - Thursday, March 9
Jim Herman, the winner of the 2016 Shell Houston Open, is the overnight leader of the 2017 Valspar Championship presented by BB&T. Playing in the morning, when winds were nearly non-existent, Herman shot a 9-under-par 62, one shot off the course record held by Padraig Harrington, to go to shots up on Russell Henley and Henrik Stenson who had 64s.
A one-hour delay in the start of Thursday’s play due to fog, meant that 19 players, including the young Tampa Bay area duo of Lee McCoy and Jimmy Stanger, were still on the course when play was suspended by darkness, but none were close to the lead. They will finish their first rounds this morning.
Herman birdied nine of his first 14 holes to threaten the course record before parring the final five to match the best score of his PGA TOUR career. Herman’s 62 was the lowest on the Copperhead Course in five years. This is Herman’s third Valspar Championship, and he had not shot under 72 in his four previous rounds. He needed only 24 putts to complete his round.
Stenson is also playing in his third Valspar – and he has yet to shoot over 72 in nine trips around the course. He was 4th in 2015 and tied for 11th last year. The 64 represented his best score in a PGA TOUR event in Florida.
TOURNAMENT NOTES – Defending champion Charl Schwartzel shot a 1-under 70 as he began his title defense while playing with Stenson….There were two eagles on par 4s – Jason Dufner thrilled the fans with a 189-yard hole out on the 3rd while Chad Campbell made two on the 10th hole….Celebrity chef Ming Tsai will be giving a free cooking demonstration on Friday at 1 p.m. in Grape & Grain, located between the 9th and 10th holes.