If you paid any attention to the Power Rankings for The Valspar Championship, your Fantasy Golf team is going to possibly take a hit this week. With most of the world’s top players taking a break, the Thursday leaders at The Copperhead golf course came from a host of second tier players. Ranked number 7 in the world, 2013 US Open Champ, Justin Rose is the only big name on the first page of the leaderboard.
The fantasy power rankers were not giving the 33 year-old Rose much respect this week because of his lingering shoulder problems. But even in the cool morning conditions at the Innisbrook Resort on Thursday morning, Justin was able to shoot even par, and remain within three shots of the overnight lead.
With Florida temperatures in the low 50′s, and wind chills in the high 30′s on Thursday, the folks in the early draw were not treated to nice conditions. The thermometer climbed through the day, but the wind continued to make scoring in the afternoon difficult. The first-round leaders got in with three under par 68′s.
Matt Every, Pat Perez, Danny Lee, and Greg Chalmers all had a piece of the lead when the day’s scores were tallied. Matt Every was the only leader who played in the morning conditions, the rest of the leaders played later in the day. Even though eight players broke 70 in the afternoon, the average scoring at the already difficult par 71 layout remained at 72.6.
“I would have been satisfied with 2 over today,” Every said. “It was tough. This morning you couldn’t feel your hands. The wind was brutal.”
Kevin Na who teed off early on Thursday morning fired a one under 70 on the day, said they expect brutal temperatures in California, but when they get to the Florida Swing, they expect better weather. As an 18 year Florida resident, I can tell you that with cool temperatures, and high humidity, that 50 degrees with a wind can be outright cold.
The thermometer read 48 degrees when Kevin Na arrived at a breezy Innisbrook range for a predawn warm-up ahead of Thursday’s first tee time.
Twenty balls later, the California native retreated back to the clubhouse to wait out the remaining 20 minutes.
“It was too cold,” said Na, who still managed a 1-under 70 that left him two shots behind the quartet sharing the Valspar Championship lead. “I was shivering, and that’s not what I want with the bad back I’ve had the last year.”
“It was every bit one of the coldest days I’ve seen this year,” said Gary Woodland, the 2012 champion who opened with a 72. “I didn’t know if I had enough clothes today. The cold and the wind were eating through the sweater.”
Temperatures are expected to get better on Friday, but the wind should still be a factor especially in the afternoon. The good news is that no one went so low on Thursday that catching the leaders is out of the question on Friday. It should be an entirely different scenario by the time the cut is made, and with any luck, the top Fantasy picks will make their way back into contention.
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