Brehm hits hole 17 to secure PGA Valspar lead

Ryan Brehm, who missed a cut in 14 of 17 starts this season, won the par-3 17th hole and shared the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the PGA Valspar Championship.

The 36-year-old American, whose only PGA title came at the Puerto Rico Open last March, hit five-under-par 66 with fellow countryman Adam Schenk and Germany’s Stephan at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Fla hunters together.

“We’ve been grinding for a while since then to try and find a good shape again,” Brehm said. “It showed signs of a good game so we’ll just keep going.”

Three-time Major winner Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Valpsar winner, shared fourth place with fellow Americans Maverick McNealy and 2009 US Open winner Lucas Glover after a 67 without a bogey.

Brehm won the 17th hole for 196 yards, par 3 with a 7 iron. It was his first PGA hole-in-one and first PGA ace on the hole since Kris Blanks in the 2012 finals.

“It kind of surprised me when I saw how it went in the hole,” Brehm said. “But we got a good reaction. There was a lot of fun.

“I was really just trying to cover the leading edge of the green and we had the wind coming off the right. We had 189 to cover the leading edge and it probably flew almost 200 meters. So it was pretty fun to see the thing drop in.”

Brehm fucked all four par 5 holes and made his lone bogey on the sixth par 4.

“We took care of the par 5 and that was nice,” said Brehm. “Had a few ups and downs and never hit one from the game. This is a recipe for just persevering.”

Jaeger, seeking his first PGA title, opened with a birdie, had bogeys on the fourth par-3 and seventh par-4, but then birdied five of the next seven holes — four of them on putts from within six feet.

“I made some good putts, drove really nice on the back nine, gave myself a lot of chances to hit the greens,” said Jaeger.

“These greens are pretty small, so if you hit them in the right places you have a lot of short putts and you just made the right putts and scored on the par 5s.”

Back-nine starter Schenk, playing for the 10th straight week chasing his first PGA title, sank a 51-foot birdie putt on the 18th in a series of four birdies that began on the 17th, with the other birdie putts fell eight feet.

After taking his lone bogey on the fourth par-3, he sank an 11-foot birdie putt on the seventh par-4, a 10-foot par putt on the eighth, and bobbing up and down a bunker on a nine, to stay level the lead.

– Good luck, good golf –

“Just putted really well,” said Schenk. “Luck on the last hole. I hit a bunker shot that hit the flag.

Schenk, who played so much before becoming a father next month, had a career best of third at the 2021 Shriners Children’s Open.

Spieth, a back nine starter, made three straight birdies starting on the par-5 14th hole, highlighted by a birdie putt from just over 57 feet on the par-3 15th hole. He also bowled in a 31-foot birdie putt on the sixth.

“I was able to land some long putts today to get me 4-under, which is a really good round,” Spieth said. “Playing 14 to 16 at 3-under is a really nice stretch of golf.”

American Sam Burns, who opened with a 69, is attempting to become the first player to win the same PGA event three years in a row since Steve Stricker at the 2009-2011 John Deere Classic.


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