Keegan Bradley charges to lead at Valspar Championship
4/29/2021 8:43:19 PM EST
Keegan Bradley, who traditionally starts well but finishes poorly at the Valspar Championship, produced another strong opening round at the Palm Harbor, Fla., event on Thursday.
Bradley shot a 7-under-par 64 at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course to take a two-stroke lead over five players. Ryan Moore, Max Homa, Patton Kizzire, Hank Lebioda and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo each shot 5 under.
Jason Kokrak, Sam Burns, Scott Stallings, Scott Brown, Ted Potter Jr., Kramer Hickok and Mexico's Abraham Ancer are tied for seventh place at 4 under.
Two-time defending champion Paul Casey of England is among 14 players who share 14th place at 3 under.
Bradley was tied for first in the Valspar Championship after the opening day in 2016, and he subsequently missed the cut. It's the fifth consecutive time he's been tied for sixth or better after the first round, yet he's never finished better than a tie for 31st after the previous four occurrences.
Bradley completed a bogey-free round Thursday. He was just 2 under through 11 holes, but he birdied five of the final seven holes, including a run of three consecutive birdies on holes No. 14 through 16.
"Today was an all-around just great day," he said. "Basically zero stress the whole day. I didn't really come close to making a bogey, so that was a really fun day to be out there and playing.
"I know that I'm going to have some bogeys and some stress coming, but as for today, I played so good and it feels good to go around a course like this and shoot that score. This is a tough track, demands a lot ball-striking-wise and I did that today."
Moore had an uneventful front nine: an opening birdie followed by eight consecutive pars. His back nine began and ended with back-to-back birdies, and in between he had a birdie and a bogey.
"It was a day of really solid ball-striking all the way around," Moore said. "The last couple days, my back had been really tight, and I think today with that being said I just kind of had to control the golf ball.
"I couldn't try and do too much to it, I couldn't try and overwork shots and stuff like that, I just kind of had to play it pretty neutral and just kind of hit more three-quarter shots all the way around, and that apparently that worked. Maybe I should do that more often."
--Field Level Media
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