Saturday, March 10, 2018

Canadian Conners leads by two shots 

2018 Valspar Championship 
(The 18th of 44 events in the PGA TOUR Season)

Palm Harbor, Florida                                         Purse: $6,500,000 (winner: $1,170,000)
Innisbrook Resort and GC (Copperhead Course)                                 Par/Yards: 36-35 - 71/7,340

Second-Round Notes – Friday, March 9, 2018

Weather: A cold start with temperature in the 40s. Sunny with light winds for most of the day, and a high of 66. Wind NNW at 5-10 mph.

      Second-Round Leaderboard
Corey Conners
67-69—136 (-6)
Paul Casey
70-68—138 (-4)

Brandt Snedeker
70-68—138 (-4)

Tiger Woods
70-68—138 (-4)

Ryan Palmer
72-66—138 (-4)

Kelly Kraft
68-70—138 (-4)


77 professionals and one amateur at 3-over 145 from a field of 142 professionals and two amateurs.
Big names who missed the cut included:
147 Martin Laird (Sco) 75 72, Rory McIlroy (N Ireland) 74 73
149 Ian Poulter (Eng) 78 71, Padraig Harrington (Ireland) 76 73

Russell Knox from Inverness is in T38 position on 143 with scores of 69 and 74.

Corey Conners
US PGA TOUR rookie and Canada native Corey Conners retained the solo lead he held after round one, with rounds of 67-69—136 (-6) to hold a two-stroke lead over five players, including former FedExCup champions Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker. Paul Casey, Ryan Palmer and Kelly Kraft also share second place.  

This marks the first time Conners has held the 36-hole lead/co-lead in 21 career starts on the US PGA TOUR. Before this week, Conners’ best position after any round was T21 at The Honda Classic two weeks ago (T59).

Conners is the first player since Marc Leishman (2017 BMW Championship) to hold the solo lead in both the first and second rounds at a PGA TOUR event.

Conners is the only player in the field with both rounds in the 60s.

Conners, who came into the week as third alternate (reserve), received his spot in the field when Kyle Stanley withdrew. He learned of his spot in the field after shooting a 71 in the Monday Qualifier, which would have not been enough to play his way in. The last alternate (reserve) to win on the PGA TOUR was Vaughn Taylor at the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Conners, 26, hails from Listowel, Ontario, Canada #r.

While at Kent State University, Conners studied actuary math, which is the study of the financial consequences of risk.

Paul Casey
Paul Casey shot 3-under 32 on his closing nine holes for a 68 to follow his first-round 70 and sit T2.

Englishman Casey is making his seventh US PGA TOUR start this season, finishing in the top-20 in five of six starts, including top-10s at the CIMB Classic (T7) and the AT and T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (T8).

Casey currently sits No. 39 in the FedExCup standings. He’s advanced to the season-finale TOUR Championship at East Lake in each of the last three seasons, finishing in the top 15 in the FedExCup each time (11th/2017, 5th/2016, 13th/2015).

Although he has had 14 international wins, Casey’s lone victory on the US PGA TOUR came at the 2009 Houston Open.

Brandt Snedeker
Friday’s 68 marked Snedeker’s first round in the 60s in this event since a third-round 67 in 2012. He’s now posted 11 of 32 rounds in the 60s at the Valspar Championship.

Snedeker’s only blemish on the scorecard in the second round was a bogey at the par-3 8th hole. He also bogeyed No. 8 in the opening round.

Tiger Woods
In his first appearance at the Valspar Championship, Tiger Woods dropped a shot at his final hole (No. 9) to shoot a second-round 3-under 68 to sit T2 after 36 holes. The lone bogey of his round came when he missed the green from 114 yards out of the left rough and failed to convert a 6-foot putt to save par.
 Woods was seeking his first bogey-free round on the PGA TOUR since the final round of The Greenbrier Classic in 2015 (3-under 67/finished T32).

In the second round, Woods hit 8 of 13 fairways, 11 of 18 greens in regulation and got up-and-down 6 of 7 times. He used 26 putts to hole a total of 57 feet, 7 inches of putts and improved his proximity to the hole on approach shots from 44 feet in round one to 34 feet, 7 inches in round two.

Ryan Palmer
After a first-round 72, Ryan Palmer mixed six birdies with one bogey in round two for a 5-under 66 to sit T2. Friday’s 66 marks his low 18-hole score in 30 rounds at this event.

Palmer has a lone top-25 finish in eight previous appearances at the Valspar Championship (T25/2006).

Palmer lost a three-man play-off earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Open, eliminated at the first extra hole before darkness fell. Jason Day eventually defeated Alex Noren at the sixth extra hole on Monday morning.

Kelly Kraft
With 68-70 in the first two rounds, Kelly Kraft opened a PGA TOUR event with two sub-par rounds for the first time since The RSM Classic earlier this season (70-65)  to sit T2 in his second start at the Valspar Championship (T65/2017).

Kraft, who missed the cut in four of his last six starts, comes to this week’s Valspar Championship after finishing T8 at The Honda Classic two weeks ago. 

Miscellaneous Notes
During rounds of 71-68, 2008 Valspar Championship winner Sean O’Hair recorded 10 birdies (most of any player in the field) and an eagle in 36 holes at the Valspar Championship. The eagle came at the par-4 6th in the second round when he holed out from 193 yards, his third career hole-out from outside 190 yards on the US PGA TOUR.

52-year-old Bob Estes posted a pair of 70s to sit T12. Estes, a four-time TOUR winner entered the 2017-18 season on a Major Medical Extension with eight available events to earn 300 FedExCup points or $479,415 to remain exempt for the remainder of the season. His injury dates back to 2013-14 season that limited him to just two starts that year. 

Of the four Monday qualifiers, three advanced to the weekend (T.J. Vogel/T38, Trey Mullinax/T12, Jack Maguire/MC and Sam Ryder/T59).

South Africa’s Tyrone Van Aswegen fired a bogey-free, second-round 65, the low round of the tournament, to sit T12. Van Aswegen played the first nine holes of his opening round in 4-over 40. This marked the second year in a row that Van Aswegen scored 65 in the second round at the Valspar Championship. It also marks the ninth time he’s shot 65, his career low 18-hole score on TOUR.



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