Valspar Championship: Jordan Spieth’s Putter Wakes Up, Tommy Fleetwood Chases the Breakthrough, and More From Day One

It was a busy day at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course for the first round of the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Jordan Spieth got off to a hot start thanks to his putter – we’ll cover that in a moment – while Ryan Brehm used a Ace on par 3 17 Jump to the top of the leaderboard with a 5 under. Stephan Jaeger and Adam Schenk sit with Brehm after matching 66s.

Maverick McNealy, still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, opened with a 4-under 67. This is McNealy’s first trip to Innisbrook, but so far he has been impressed with the course.

“I’ve heard from so many players that this is just an amazing golf course,” he said after his round. “I’m a West Coast guy, I’ve been playing, I usually play a heavy West Coast swing and Florida is usually a little bit different, but everyone kept saying it didn’t feel like a Florida golf course. I got off here and saw pictures. It looks like the golf course I grew up on, Sharon Heights and Stanford in the Bay Area.”

We’ll see if those hometown sensibilities carry him to success the rest of the way.

Sam Burns, looking to win outside of Tampa for the third straight year, opened with a 2-under 69, as did Justin Thomas. Thomas finished the playoffs with a shot last season, finishing 13th in 2021.

“I think for me it’s just trying to put together a solid week and a lot of the wins are out of my control,” Burns said after signing his card. “So I’m just trying to go out there and play the best I can and add it up at the end.”

If you missed Thursday’s action, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the first round of the Valspar Championship.

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Tommy Fleetwood gears up for a title boost

Tommy Fleetwood of England lines up a putt on the 13th green during the first round of the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 16, 2023 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Somehow, Tommy Fleetwood has yet to add a PGA Tour win to his resume. He’s been a Ryder Cup hero, he’s won seven times worldwide, but he’s still looking for his first Tour win.

After a 3-under-68 on Thursday’s Copperhead Course, he’s in the best position to tick it off his wish list.

Fleetwood started hot, screwing his first two holes of the day thanks to a well-played par 5 on No. 1 and a dart from 172 yards on the second to two feet. He would add one more before turning over with 3 under 33.

Fleetwood traded a birdie on 10 for a bogey on 11, but rebounded with another circle on the par-5 14th. He failed to pace from the edge to 18 and close with a bogey and a 3-under.

This isn’t the first time he’s played well in Palm Harbor. Fleetwood, who is in the top 30 for the Players, finished 16th here just last season.

The afternoon wave on Friday has to contend with the worst weather. With a solid effort in the morning, Fleetwood should be near the top of the board.

Jordan Spieth’s putter finally cooperated

Jordan Spieth lines up a putt on the ninth green during the first round of the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 16, 2023 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Earlier in the week, Jordan Spieth was ranked 114th in SG: Putting. His round Thursday could kick-start the journey to improving that stat.

Spieth made 147-foot putts on day one, including a 58-foot putt on the par-3 15 and a 31-foot bet on number 6.

“I felt comfortable with the speed control and overall comfort of the putter, it allowed – even if I missed it, I felt like I could play to the middle of the green and not attack pins. It’s a different place than I’ve lived before as I’ve been trying to get better and better with the putter,” he said.

The Texan was first in SG: putting on round one.

“The Other JT”

JT Poston is a two-time PGA Tour winner. He is the 54th best golfer in the world. But his name is taken.

Jokes have been made for years that he’s the “other JT” on tour because of Justin Thomas. It’s tough to compete with someone who holds two Wanamaker trophies and rarely climbs out of the top 10 on the official golf world rankings.

In the first two rounds, Poston and Thomas are paired together with Joel Dahmen. As is tradition at the Valspar Championship, caddies are allowed to wear their player’s nickname on their jerseys throughout the week. Poston and his looper, Aaron Flener, decided to jump on the joke.

shot of the day

Hard to beat an ace!

Weather forecast for Friday

Valspar Championship 2022 at the Copperhead Course

Valspar Championship 2022 at the Copperhead Course

A pin flag at the 2022 Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

According to, Winds are forecast to reach the high teens with gusts up to 30 MPH possible on Friday afternoon. Temperatures are expected to reach the high 70s.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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