Albatross lifts Knox within one shot of Valspar lead

Ruben Hill
March 24, 2019

Joel Dahmen and rookie Stepp Straka of Austria have never won on the PGA Tour, but you wouldn't have known that from watching them in the first round of the Valspar Championship.

It was the second albatross in a week on the PGA Tour, after American Harris English recorded one at the Players Championship. Along with the two bogeys he carded, Johnson had three birdies and made some impressive shots.

"Nice to turn it around after last week to suddenly be not in control of this event but I'm near the top, which is good".

After declaring the tournament would be a good test of his iron-play ahead of the first major of the year at Augusta, Day could only manage rounds of 74 and 71, leaving him two shots outside the cut.

"I figured the rest of the world should see it this week", Dahmen said. Golfers get bogey or worse 25 percent of the time.

"Overall, pretty pleased, I really haven't had too many reps, and maybe lost a little bit of focus down the stretch there the last few holes, but overall I'm in a great position".

Johnson, playing alongside Casey, birdied the 11th but found water at the short 13th and ran up a double-bogey five before dropping another shot at 16, but he battled back on the front nine and reeled off four birdies in five holes.

"It's a very quick way to go from 2-over to 1-under, " Knox said.

A number of top players took the week off following the prestigious Players Championship but the event still includes Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.

"It makes your back feel better, actually, when you make a few birdies and hole a few putts", he said. I felt very relaxed out there, which is somewhat unusual.

Casey, the defending champion, is tied with American Austin Cook at 6-under-par 136, good enough for a one-stroke lead after Friday's second round under sunny, and ultimately wind-swept, conditions at the Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Straka and Dahmen also played in the morning on a day when almost all the best scores were posted early, before a breeze and firm conditions created a stern afternoon test.

On the 590-yard par-5 14th hole, Dahmen reached the green in 3 and had a three-putt after missing a 4 feet putt he finished with a 3-putt bogey, putting him at 5 over for the round.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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