Golf: Schenk grabs PGA Valspar lead with Spieth lurking

Adam Schenk plays his shot from the seventh tee during the second round of the Valspar Championship. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI – Adam Schenk is playing for a 10th consecutive week and hoping to get as much time as possible on the golf course, as he awaits the birth of his child.

On Friday, the American fired a two-under 69 to grab a one-stroke lead after the second round of the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.

The 31-year-old, who shared the 18-hole lead, was on seven-under 135 after 36 holes at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course in Palm Harbour, Florida.

“It really couldn’t have been a ton better with the amount of putts I made,” Schenk said.

“We’re doing a really good job managing the courses.”

Compatriot Kramer Hickok, chasing his first PGA crown like Schenk, was second on 136 after a second 68 in windy conditions. Schenk, whose best PGA finish was third at the 2021 Shriners Children’s Open, is keeping busy before the birth of his son in April.

“Having a little baby boy here in about a month and a half. So trying to make as many points as I can to take as much time off as I can and spend time with him and my wife, which will be very special,” he added.

He made a birdie-birdie start, blasting out of a bunker to seven feet and sinking the putt at the par-five first hole, then dropping his approach inside three feet to set up a tap-in at the second.

After a three-putt bogey on the third, Schenk answered with a 17-foot birdie putt at the par-five fifth and added another birdie from 4½ feet at the 12th, before a closing bogey after finding a greenside bunker.

“I had better control of my golf ball,” he said.

“Made a few putts, had some nice saves for par which really holds the round together.

“It was another one of those rounds that could have been even par. It wouldn’t have been five- or six-under ever but we managed it well and very pleased with two-under.”

Three-time Major winner Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Valspar champion, fired a 70 to share third on 137 with fellow Americans Cody Gribble (65) and Davis Riley (68), plus England’s Tommy Fleetwood (69).

“Kind of an off day on approaching the greens, hit pretty rusty wedges,” Spieth, 29, said.

“To shoot one under on this golf course in the wind is a good score and I feel good... But in order to go out and capture it, you got to do a little bit better than that.” AFP, REUTERS

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