Friday, March 22, 2019 6:40 p.m. CDT

(Reuters) – Early starters Paul Casey and Austin Prepare dinner survived after a expensive end by way of one-time chief Luke Donald to earn a one-stroke merit in Florida’s Valspar Championship on Friday.

Englishman Casey, the protecting champion, shot 66 and American Prepare dinner 67 to carry onto the joint lead on six-under 136 after the second one around at Palm Harbor, Florida.

Donald, who performed in the back of compatriot Casey and Prepare dinner, had taken a one-shot lead with 4 holes to play however two bogeys coming house left him in a three-way tie for 3rd after a scrambling one-under 70.

Stage with the previous global primary at 137 had been American Scott Stallings (68) and South Korea’s Im Sung-jae (67).

Lurking any other shot again was once top-ranked Dustin Johnson, whose 2nd consecutive 69 left the American in a three-way tie for 6th with Australian Curtis Good fortune (68) and first-round co-leader Joel Dahmen (72).

Casey put in combination an eagle, 4 birdies and a bogey at his remaining hollow, the 9th, prior to the Florida breezes kicked up and the vegetables turned into extra tough.

“I’ve by no means (effectively) defended a qualified tournament,” he informed Golfing Channel.

“I believe mentally remaining yr I used to be kind of hoping, clearly hoping, I’d win, in need of to win. This yr, realizing that I’ve received round right here, I’ve only a rather other solution to it.”

Prepare dinner grew to become to a brand new putter and preferred the effects as he recorded 5 birdies and a bogey.

“One thing so simple as converting a putter could make a large distinction now and again,” he informed PGA Excursion Radio.

Scot Russell Knox, tied for 3rd after the primary around, slightly made the lower after hovering from a 67 on Thursday to a 76 in windy prerequisites on Friday.

Australian Jason Day did fall over the lower line of plus one as the arena quantity 12’s 71 was once no longer sufficient to triumph over a gap 74 as he ended play at three-over par.

(Reporting by way of Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Enhancing by way of Ken Ferris)

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