Schenk drops putts to lead PGA's Valspar Championship

Adam Schenk drained several putts to post a 2-under 69 that was enough to give him a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the Valspar Championship.

Schenk had four birdies, all but one of them from inside 10 feet, and finished with a bogey from the bunker short of the 18th on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.

That didn't bother him too much because of the 20-foot putt he made for par on the par-3 eighth, the 10-footer for par he made on the 10th and the long up-and-down for par on the par-5 11th.

"I feel like a lot of times you ... maybe shoot 2 under and you're like, 'It could have been 6 or 7.' But it really couldn't have been a ton better with the amount of putts I made," he said.

He was at 7-under 135, one shot ahead of Kramer Hickok, who had a 68.

Jordan Spieth is a big part of the weekend, wasting a great round of driving with some suspect short irons. He still posted a 70 and was only two shots behind.

Tommy Fleetwood had a 69 and joined Spieth in the group two shots behind along with Cody Gribble (65) and Davis Riley (68), who lost in a playoff to Sam Burns at Innisbrook last year.

Burns, the two-time defending champion, is trying to become the first player to win the same tournament three straight years since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic (2009-11). He had a 73 and was seven shots behind.

Justin Thomas had a 70 and was in the group at 3-under 139.

Schenk had had a few close calls in search of his first victory, such as the Shriners Children's Open in Las Vegas in 2021 and the Barracuda Championship the same year.

He plays a lot, anyway, but there's a little more emphasis this year because his wife is expecting their first child, a boy, in a little over a month.

"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," Schenk said.

The cut was at 1-over 143. Among those missing was US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who has missed the cut three times in his last six tournament. Fitzpatrick took a 9 on the third hole of the opening round and never caught up.

Harry Higgs had the latest big number. He took an 8 on the par-3 13th hole when he went into the water, and then over the green from the drop area into a bunker, and then blasted out into the water. Higgs had two double bogeys and wound up with an 81.

Australians Cameron Percy and Harrison Endycott posted identical scores - 72 and 71 - to make the cut on the line.