Golf: Schenk clings to PGA Valspar lead as Spieth, Fleetwood chase

Adam Schenk putting on the 10th green during the third round of the Valspar Championship. PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

MIAMI – If Adam Schenk is going to win his first PGA Tour title, he is going to have to hold off a pair of heavyweights to do it.

Schenk carded a one-under 70 on Saturday to sit at eight-under 205 at the Valspar Championship at Palm Bay Harbour, Florida, leading Jordan Spieth and England’s Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke.

Taylor Moore (69), Cody Gribble (70) and Webb Simpson (68) are tied for fourth, two shots off the lead. England’s Matt Wallace (70), Patton Kizzire (67) and Wyndham Clark (70) headed into Sunday’s final round tied-seventh on 208.

Chasing his first Tour title in his 165th start, Schenk has held the lead or co-lead after each round at Innisbrook Resort. He has a career-best of third at the 2021 Shriners Children’s Open.

The 31-year-old posted three birdies against two bogeys in the third round, but it was enough to remain atop the leaderboard on moving day. He birdied two of his final three holes, including No. 18.

“Battle all day. Not a ton went our way early,” Schenk said. “We really hung in there. (My caddie) did a great job of telling me that everybody’s going to struggle today, it’s windy, it’s difficult.

“You’re going to get some bad breaks, you’re going to get some good breaks, just wait for ‘em. We got ours on 16 and 18. The birdie on 18 was just an added bonus.”

Spieth had a strong start to his round of 69 in pursuit of a repeat win at the event after his 2015 triumph. He eagled No. 1 but had five bogeys along with five birdies.

“It was a really nice start,” the three-time Major winner said. “I’ve kind of not really had my best stuff the last two days with my swing and today I managed it really well around here...

“For the amount of mistakes I made, it’s nice to shoot a couple under.”

The world No. 14 is seeking his 14th PGA Tour title and his first since last April’s Heritage event.

Fleetwood (69), meanwhile, was one of three players – Kizzire and Doc Redman (68) were the others – with a bogey-free round on Saturday, recording two birdies.

“The first thing to look at is bogey-free,” Fleetwood, who has won six European Tour titles, his most recent victory at last November’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, but has four runner-up efforts without a victory on the US circuit, said. “I made no dropped shots, I never went backwards once.

“They’re always nice, no matter where you play nor when you’re playing, but on a day like today when it’s really tough, I felt like that was really important. Overall just happy with how patient I stayed.” REUTERS, AFP

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