The Fresh Coat - Thursday March 13
THE FRESH COAT
Covering the Valspar Championship Daily
Thursday, March 13
On a day that began with cool, blustery conditions, the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort had plenty of bite on Thursday in the first round of the Valspar Championship. Four co-leaders – Matt Every, Pat Perez, Greg Chalmers and Danny Lee – were tied at 3-under-par 68, the highest opening round lead in tournament history.
The result was a tightly-bunched field with 44 players, nearly one-third of the field, within three shots of the lead. In that group were past champions Jim Furyk, Carl Pettersson and Luke Donald, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and young stars Peter Uihlein, Matteo Manassero and Jordan Spieth.
On Thursday, the course yielded not a single eagle, just the second time in tournament history a round has been played without one and the first time with the full field before the cut. The other time was Round 3 in 2007.
Every, out of the University of Florida, was the only one of the four co-leaders with a morning tee time as scores averaged 73.07 in the a.m. as opposed to afternoon tee times when scores averaged 72.21.
Chalmers finished tied for 4th on the Copperhead last year becoming just the 4th lefthander to finish in the Top 10 in this event.
Lee, coming off his best career PGA TOUR finish with a 2nd in the Puerto Rico Open, is playing this event for the first time and was the only player to reach 4-under before a bogey on #6, his 15th hole. Lee played a practice round at Copperhead on Tuesday, his first look at the course and he said, “I think I shot about 90 over here. It was so hard, I was shocked how hard it was.”
A total of 25 players finished under par, with 18 of those teeing off in the afternoon.
Even though it played downwind in the morning breeze, the par 4 third hole played the toughest in Round 1 yielding just 4 birdies and a scoring average of 4.299.
The previous highest first-round score to lead the event was 5-under in 2003.
There was one withdrawal – Blake Adams after his first round with a hip injury.
All four leaders started their round on the 10th hole.
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Play resumes on Friday with a promising forecast calling for sunny skies and highs in the low 70s.
The past three tournament champions – Gary Woodland, Kevin Streelman and Luke Donald – will play together at 1:00 off the first tee. Two strong groups go off the 10th tee beginning at 8:10 (Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk, followed by Jason Dufner, Justin Rose and Brandt Snedeker).
There is plenty of fun off the course as well near the 18th green with the Michelob ULTRA 19th Hole, Frenchy’s Pool Party and the Bright House Sports Network Pavilion offering food and drink.
In addition, Valspar is committed to bringing the transformative power of color to life both within the tournament through a series of colorful activations, and within the community as a longstanding partner of Habitat for Humanity.
Guests at the Valspar Championship can support Habitat at the Valspar Color Experience. Play Hole it for Habitat and if you sink your putt, Valspar will donate $5 to Habitat for Humanity.