It was another brutal day on The Florida Swing at The Valspar Championship on Friday. The lead hovered at -3 under par for most of the day at The Copperhead Course, but Robert Garrigus put up three birdies on the back nine to put some distance on the field at -5 under par. The 36 year-old Garrigus put two birdies on his card at the 14 & 15th holes, and made pars through the Snake Pit for the one-shot overnight lead over Kevin Na.
It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier on the Florida Swing this year, between the weather, and four of the toughest golf courses on the tour, it seems everyone will be glad when play moves off to Texas in two weeks as they prepare for the Masters only a month away.
Most of the players interviewed on the Golf Channel on Friday expressed a ton of respect for the tough little course at The Innisbrook Resort saying it is a perfect test for their game as we head into the years first major at Augusta.
With only one bogey on his card all day at the 10th hole, it was easy to see how Robert Garrigus shot a -5 under 66 and able to build a nice lead going into the weekend. The cut was three over par when play was completed, and some big names will be travelling to Orlando to wait for Bay Hill next week.
Garrigus is one of the bigger hitters on the tour, and averaging over 300 yards off the tee and birdied all of the par 5’s for a second consecutive day. He had a better day with his putter on Friday at 2.275 stokes gained putting, and it showed up on his scorecard.
Kevin Na fired a -3 under 68 on the par 71 layout, and at -4 under par will start Saturday with a one-shot lead over a foursome at -3 under par that includes The world’s number 7 player, Justin Rose. After playing even par in the cool windy conditions on Thursday, Justin got in the clubhouse with a 68 as well, and is not that far back.
Justin Rose didn’t come in too high in the Fantasy rankings this week because of his shoulder problems. With what I saw on Friday, his game looks to be back on track, and he could well be a factor in this event before it’s over Sunday afternoon.
He shares a tie for third first-round co-leader, Pat Perez. Perez caught the early cool conditions, and was only able manage even par on the day and shares the third spot with Matt Every, and Matteo Manassero. Every shot even par, but the young Italian followed his -2 under 69 on Thursday with a one-under performance on Friday in round two.
The interesting round of the day was a 90 carded by John Daly. Big John’s day was full of bogeys, double bogeys, and a 12 on the par 4 16th hole. Yeah….you heard right..12. Daly didn’t amke one birdie on the day, and appeared to be over matched by Copperhead, especially the Snake Pit. It was the worse score John Daly ever carded in a PGA event.
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