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Garrigus Takes Over Lead in Valspar Championship


Thanks to a stellar 66, Robert Garrigus assumed the top spot in the Valspar Championship, a $5.7 million PGA Tour event - the former Tampa Bay Championship - that began Thursday at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The 36-year-old Idaho native posted the low round of the tournament with his 5-under outing to rise to the top of the leaderboard. The one-time Tour winner carded six birdies and a bogey to reach 7-under 135, three strokes ahead of Kevin Na, who shot 68 on the difficult Copperhead course.

Garrigus has had success at Copperhead before, losing in a playoff in 2012.

Four strokes behind are two of the four 18-hole co-leaders, Americans Pat Perez and Matt Every, who each posted even-par 71s, along with Italy's Matteo Manassero (70) and England's Justin Rose (68).

"I got some momentum going today," said Rose, the reigning U.S. Open champion. "I worked my way into the tournament early. To finish strong with my round yesterday I think helped give me some momentum today. It's exactly how I needed to flow into the tournament."

Manassero is also happy with his performance so far. "It's a good start for me. I'm happy with where I'm at and I'm happy with my game," the 20-year-old told reporters.

Among those sharing seventh at 2-under 140 are the third first-round co-leader, Greg Chalmers of Australia, who carded a 1-over 72, and major champion Jim Furyk (69).

Several players are at 1-under, including 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth, who followed up his opening 71 with a 70.

Defending champion Kevin Streelman went four strokes lower than his opening 73 with a 69 on Friday, and 2012 winner Luke Donald has carded rounds of 71 and 72 to safely make the weekend cut.

Despite Garrigus's outstanding round, for the second straight day the Copperhead course - designed by architect Larry Packard, who died in January at age 101 - continued to prove it's one of the most difficult venues on the PGA Tour.

Attesting to that would be New Zealand's Danny Lee. The fourth 18-hole co-leader skyrocketed from his opening 68 with a 79 to fall well below the cut line of 3-over 145.

Among others also not qualifying for the weekend is two-time major champion John Daly, who carded a 19-over 90 that included a 12 on the par-4 16th hole, the highest score of his 24-year PGA Tour career. He joked about the 12 after his round.

"I got two good drops and hit a heel-cut 3-wood into the water," he said. "Then I shanked a 7-iron, chili-dipped a chip, it was buried, didn't get that out . . . It was a good 12. I got up and down for 12," related the 47-year-old, who opened with a 74 but had five bogeys, three doubles and the dirty dozen Friday to finish 36 holes in 22-over 164.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.