PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Ryan Brehm turned a great spherical right into a memorable one Thursday, making a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventeenth gap at Innisbrook for a 5-under 66 that led to a three-way share of the lead on the Valspar Championship.
Stephan Jaeger additionally had a 66, whereas Adam Schenk joined them with the low rating within the afternoon on the Copperhead course.
Jordan Spieth, again at Innisbrook for the primary time in 5 years, had a bogey-free spherical and was notably sharp with the putter, making birdie putts of 60 ft and 30 ft on his option to a 67. Additionally at 67 have been former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover and Maverick McNealy.
That is the primary lead for Brehm since he gained the Puerto Rico Open final yr in his remaining begin to attempt to hold a PGA Tour card. It hasn’t been the smoothest street since then. Brehm has made solely three cuts this season — one in all them at Kapalua — and is coming off an 80 within the second spherical final week at The Gamers Championship.
“We have been grinding for a short time since then to try to discover some good type once more, and hopefully … it has been exhibiting indicators of excellent play,” he stated.
His ace got here with a 6-iron from 196 yards, and he closed with a par. It was his eleventh time within the 60s in 43 rounds on the PGA Tour this season.
Jaeger had seven birdies within the morning, which began with temperatures chilly sufficient for some gamers to put on beanies and further layers.
Schenk completed his spherical with a 10-foot par save on the par-3 eighth gap, after which after going bunker-to-bunker on the ninth, made a par putt from 5 ft.
Tommy Fleetwood was at 68, whereas the group at 69 included two-time defending champion Sam Burns and Justin Thomas, at No. 10 the highest-ranked participant within the area.
Scoring isn’t notably low at Innisbrook, extremely considered a event course with tree-lined fairways, elevation and never almost as a lot water as so many programs in Florida.
“I am not snug on the market in any respect, however I do not suppose anyone actually is — possibly Sam Burns; he is gained it a pair instances,” Brehm stated. “However I believe it is a good check of golf. Golf’s not imagined to be simple, I do not suppose, and the course does a great job of creating you suppose.”
Nobody had a harder begin than U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick.
On the third gap, Fitzpatrick pulled his tee shot out of play. His third shot from the tee discovered the water, and after a penalty drop, he got here up wanting the bunker after which from there, wanting the inexperienced. It added to a 9, and he adopted with consecutive bogeys.
Fitzpatrick went out in 42, and he bounced again with a 32. Even so, he got here into the Valspar Championship having missed three cuts in his final 5 tournaments.
Spieth hasn’t been capable of match Innisbrook into his schedule since The Gamers Championship moved again to March, however he wished to return this yr. That is his fourth event within the final 5 weeks, with the Match Play subsequent week.
Earlier than he had a card, Spieth chipped in on the seventeenth gap and tied for seventh that allowed him to realize particular non permanent membership on the PGA Tour. Two years later, he gained the Valspar Championship in a playoff by making a 30-foot birdie putt. That was in 2015, the yr he gained the Masters and U.S. Open.
This spherical was principally about his placing, the lengthy birdies and equally essential, various mid-length par putts that saved his spherical going. Spieth hit solely 5 fairways.
“With solely hitting like five-ish fairways, you do this round this place and shoot below par, it is fairly strong,” Spieth stated, accounting for just a few tee photographs simply off the quick grass. “I used to be capable of sneak a pair extras with the putter in the present day. I have been feeling like my placing’s been working in direction of the place I actually need it to be.”