The Fresh Coat - Friday March 11
A fantastic golf weekend appears in the offing as a tightly-bunched field of 71 golfers prepare to take on the Copperhead Course after surviving the first two days. The cut at 3 over par 145 matched the highest in Valspar Championship history.
Will McKenzie, a two-time PGA TOUR winner, and 49-year-old Steve Stricker hold the lead at 5 under par after shooting 67 and 66 respectively on Friday, and will play in the final grouping at 1:45 p.m. In addition, a varied and interesting cast of professionals is nipping at their heels.
Daniel Berger, Bill Haas and Graham DeLaet are one shot off the lead at 4 under and a total of 23 golfers are within four shots of the lead.
That group also includes the Valspar Championship’s pair of two-time winners, Retief Goosen and K.J. Choi, Patrick Reed who was in last year’s playoff, Matt Kuchar, Justin Thomas and Henrik Stenson.
Jordan Spieth, the defending champion and the number-one ranked player in the world, made the cut and moved into the fringes of contention seven shots back with a 68 on Friday after his opening 76. He tees off at 9:05 a.m. on the first tee with fellow Dallas-area product Justin Leonard.
COPPERHEAD BITES: There were no holes in one on Friday, but veteran Steve Stricker did make an eagle on the par-4 10th hole when he holed out from 150 yards out. It was only the second eagle on the 10th in tournament history…Three players- Stricker, DeLaet and George McNeill – shot 66, the lowest score of the tournament on Friday…Lee McCoy, the lone amateur in the field, made the cut on the number at 3-over-par…Four other sponsor’s exemptions made the cut – Greg Yates, now a pro, who won the 2015 Valspar Collegiate Invitational at The Floridian while representing Texas A&M, Danny Willett of England and the European Tour, Thomas Aiken and Sam Saunders…Goosen, Charles Howell III and Justin Leonard each made the cut on the Copperhead for the 10th time. Jonathan Byrd, not in the field this year, holds the record at 11…The 5-under lead ties the highest 36-hole lead in tournament history, matching Brandt Snedeker in 2008…It also is the highest 36-hole score to par to lead on the PGA TOUR this season by three strokes…Keegan Bradley, one of the first round leaders with a score of 67, shot 79 on Friday and missed the cut…A total of 13 different countries are represented by the 71 players remaining in the field.