7: 27 PM ET
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Keegan Bradley can’t resolve having a more intellectual time than he did Thursday at Innisbrook. He missed finest one inexperienced. His longest par putt used to be honest over 4 feet. It added to a 7-under 64 and every other huge delivery within the Valspar Championship.
It be the 2d round that currently has given Bradley suits on the Copperhead route.
Bradley ran off four birdies over his closing five holes, ending with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th and a two-shot lead on a day of low scoring now now not in total viewed at this PGA Tour end.
“On the total zero stress the total day,” Bradley stated. “I do know that I could relish some bogeys and some stress coming. However as for this day, I performed so factual and it feels factual to plug around a route adore this and shoot that fetch.”
Riviera winner Max Homa had eight birdies and used to be in a effectively-organized community at 66 that incorporated Emiliano Grillo and Ryan Moore.
It wasn’t a stagger for every person. Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 participant on the planet, did now not beget a birdie over his closing 12 holes and had to resolve for a 71. Johnson hasn’t performed within the pinnacle 10 in precisely over two months and first has to apprehension about making the decrease.
Justin Thomas famend his 28th birthday by opening with an eagle and coming inches away from a gap-in-one, but he stalled on the abet 9 and shot 69.
Phil Mickelson, taking part in at Innisbrook for the first time since 2004, shot 73.
As for Bradley, right here is the fifth straight time he has began the Valspar Championship in a tie for sixth or greater. He has missed the decrease twice — together with in 2016, when he shared the 18-gap lead — and has cracked the pinnacle 30.
This on the total is a diversified year given the commerce in date. The tournament has been fragment of the Florida swing in March since 2007. Due to a commerce within the calendar, it used to be moved to the closing week in April this year.
With hotter weather — temperatures had been pushing 90 — the route is getting more water than in trend. Blended with a itsy-bitsy bit of more humidity, prerequisites had been a itsy-bitsy bit of softer.
Bradley had his game dialed in from the beginning, and namely on the produce. He made birdie the correct time he missed a inexperienced, honest short on the par-3 15th. He had the 4-foot par putt and every other one from honest over 3 feet. The opposite 9 par putts had been 20 inches or shorter.
“I did now not in actual fact reach shut to making a bogey, so as that used to be a in actual fact enjoyable day to be available and taking part in,” Bradley stated.
In a season of avid gamers ending lengthy stretches with out winning, perhaps Moore is in line to hitch the listing. The closing of his five PGA Tour wins used to be in 2016, the year he performed within the Ryder Cup. He missed the closing four months of 2020 with a abet damage, and or now now not it has been gradual coming abet.
And his abet used to be feeling a itsy-bitsy bit of tight the closing few days. The warm weather helped, and so did a conservative means.
“I might well now not strive to raise out too considerable. I might well now not strive to overwork shots and stuff adore that,” he stated. “I honest had to play it quite neutral and honest more or less hit more three-quarter shots the total diagram around, and that it sounds as if labored. Per chance I ought to silent raise out that more on the total.”
Paul Casey, searching for to became finest the fourth participant within the closing 40 years to win the identical tournament three straight times (Tiger Woods did it on six occasions), overcame a rough delivery with a 68. He additionally got right here inches away from an ace on the fourth gap, with one fan leaping out of his chair upfront. It caught the lip. He made a 2.
“A three-peat has been talked about plenty and will likely be talked about unless I’m done right here, and I honest are searching for to more or less loaf around, which is what I did this day,” Casey stated. “I indubitably can’t win it this day, but I are searching for to loaf around.”
The particular delivery — it felt adore that, anyway — belonged to Michael Visacki, who got a lot of reputation before the complete lot of the week with his 20-foot putt to win a playoff in a Monday qualifier and beget his first delivery in a PGA Tour match. He used to be sobbing when he shared the news with his father. He used to be smiling when he got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 first gap.
Highlights had been uncommon — he additionally made a birdie on the par-3 13th — and he opened with a 74.