(Reuters) – Early starters Paul Casey and Austin Prepare dinner survived after a pricey end through 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 at 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 have been American Scott Stallings (68) and South Korea’s Im Sung-jae (67).
Lurking some other shot again used to be 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 final hollow, the 9th, sooner than the Florida breezes kicked up and the vegetables was extra difficult.
“I’ve by no means (effectively) defended a qualified tournament,” he instructed Golfing Channel.
“I believe mentally final 12 months I used to be form of hoping, clearly hoping, I might win, short of to win. This 12 months, figuring out that I’ve received round right here, I’ve only a quite other technique to it.”
Prepare dinner became to a brand new putter and favored the effects as he recorded 5 birdies and a bogey.
“One thing so simple as converting a putter could make a large distinction occasionally,” he instructed PGA Excursion Radio.
Scot Russell Knox, tied for 3rd after the primary around, slightly made the reduce after hovering from a 67 on Thursday to a 76 in windy stipulations on Friday.
Australian Jason Day did fall over the reduce line of plus one as the sector quantity 12’s 71 used to be no longer sufficient to triumph over a gap 74 as he ended play at three-over par.
(Reporting through Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Enhancing through Ken Ferris)