The Washington Post

Brehm makes a hole in one, shares the lead at Valspar


Ryan Brehm turned a good round into a memorable one Thursday, making a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th hole at Innisbrook for a 5-under-par 66 that led to a three-way share of the lead at the Valspar Championsh­ip in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Stephan Jaeger also had a 66, while Adam Schenk joined them with the low score in the afternoon on the Copperhead course.

Jordan Spieth had a bogey-free round and was particular­ly sharp with the putter, making birdie putts of 60 feet and 30 feet on his way to a 67. Also at 67 were former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover and Maverick Mcnealy.

This is the first lead for Brehm since he won the Puerto Rico Open last year in his final start to try to keep a PGA Tour card. He has made only three cuts this season and is coming off an 80 in the second round last week at the Players Championsh­ip.

“We’ve been grinding for a little while since then to try and find some good form again, and hopefully . . . it’s been showing signs of good play,” said Brehm, whose ace came with a 6-iron from 196 yards.

Jaeger had seven birdies in the morning, which started with temperatur­es cold enough for some players to wear beanies and extra layers.

Schenk finished his round with a 10-foot par save on the par-3 eighth hole and then after going bunker-to-bunker on the ninth, made a par putt from five feet.

Tommy Fleetwood was at 68, while the group at 69 included two-time defending champion

Sam Burns and Justin Thomas, at No. 10 the highest-ranked player in the field.

Scoring is never particular­ly low at Innisbrook, highly regarded as a tournament course with tree-lined fairways, elevation and not nearly as much water as so many courses in Florida.

“I think it’s a good test of golf,” Brehm said. “Golf ’s not supposed to be easy, I don’t think, and the course does a good job of making you think.”

No one had a tougher start than U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatric­k.

On the third hole, Fitzpatric­k pulled his tee shot out of play. His third shot from the tee found the water, and after a penalty drop, he came up short of the bunker and then from there, short of the green. It added to a 9, and he followed with consecutiv­e bogeys.

Fitzpatric­k went out in 42, and he bounced back with a 32. Even so, he came into the Valspar Championsh­ip having missed three cuts in his past five tournament­s.

● DP WORLD TOUR: David Ravetto and Kristian Krogh Johannesse­n carded 5-under 67s in windy St. Francis Bay, South Africa, to share the clubhouse lead in the first round of the SDC Championsh­ip.

France’s Ravetto picked up six birdies and just one bogey, and Norway’s Johannesse­n had a blemish-free round of five birdies.

They are one shot ahead of Scotland’s Connor Syme, who had a 68.

A handful of players were not able to complete their opening rounds because of fading light.

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