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Valspar Championship: Keegan Bradley lets go in the lead, Paul Casey four behind |  Golf news


Former PGA Champion Keegan Bradley earns a two-stroke Valspar Championship lead, defending champion Paul Casey is four-time, but it was a tough first day for world No.1 Dustin Johnson

Last update: 04/30/21 12:14 AM

Keegan Bradley carded seven birdies at 64

Keegan Bradley had a “zero stress” round of 64 as he clinched the lead after day one of the Valspar Championship in Florida.

Bradley had five of the last seven holes to reach the top of the standings on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook, keeping a bogey off his card to end the day with a two-stroke lead on high-quality ground.

Paul Casey got off to a good start in his candidacy for a third consecutive victory in an event that was called off last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, shooting a 68 to edge out fellow England veterans Luke Donald and Ian Poulter.

Justin Thomas also had two under for the round, but world No.1 Dustin Johnson will have to enjoy better scoring conditions early Friday after a par 71 left him tied for the 66th.

Valspar Championship: Keegan Bradley lets go in the lead, Paul Casey four behind |  Golf news

Bradley’s bogey-less round gave him a two-stroke lead

Bradley was an early rookie on day one and hit two of the first four holes, although he didn’t hit another shot until he broke seven feet in the 12th.

The former PGA champion drained a superb putt from almost 35 feet long 14th and landed another from the same range on the next green, completing a hat trick of nine chicks at 16 before adding another from the outside 20 feet to the last. .

Valspar Championship: Keegan Bradley lets go in the lead, Paul Casey four behind |  Golf news

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“Today has been a great day,” said Bradley. “Basically zero stress all day. I didn’t really come close to doing a bogey so it was a really fun day to be out there and play well.

“I know I’m going to have bogeys and stress ahead, but like today I played so well and it feels good to go around a course like this and shoot that score . It’s a tough track, it takes. A lot of hitting the ball and I did it today. “

Bradley’s 64 were two better than Emiliano Grillo, Ryan Moore, Hank Leboida, Max Homa and Patton Kizzire, while defending champion Casey was happy with his start as he chased a rare “three-peat” on the PGA Tour.

Valspar Championship: Keegan Bradley lets go in the lead, Paul Casey four behind |  Golf news

Paul Casey declared his hat-trick with a 68

“It’s nice to finally be back, two years after I wanted to get back to defense,” said Casey. “The golf course is as good and as tough as it has ever been and I played a nice solid round of golf. I got rid of the scarecrow early on and just played some good golf afterwards.

“So happy with this start, it can be treacherous here. We’ve talked a lot about three peatlands and we’ll talk about it until I’m done here, and I just want to hang around, which is kind of what I’m doing. did today.

“I certainly can’t win today but I want to stay. It’s a tough thing to do a hat-trick, I think only 10 guys made it, something like that. So we’ll see what happens. “

Valspar Championship: Keegan Bradley lets go in the lead, Paul Casey four behind |  Golf news

Dustin Johnson struggled to reach a 71 on day one

Donald, the 2012 champion, and Poulter were two of 17 players to shoot 69 with Viktor Hovland and Russell Knox, while Thomas was unable to build on a flash start when he misplaced the first and came within inches of the hole. his second to second.

But Johnson has work to do to avoid another missed cut after making up for three birdies with so many bogeys, while longtime Masters frontman Justin Rose also has to dig deep on Friday after bogeying two of the last three holes for return a disappointing 74.

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