Schenk posts results for 10th straight week, leads Valspar | golf

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) – Adam Schenk is playing his 10th straight week on the PGA Tour and is finally seeing some good results. He’s making enough putts for a 2-under 69 on Friday, giving him a one-shot lead this weekend at the Valspar Championship.

Schenk had four birdies, all but one from within 10 feet, and finished with a bogey from the bunker just short of the 18th on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.

That didn’t bother him too much because of the 20 foot putt he made on the par 3 eighth, the 10 foot putt he made on the 10 and the long up and down for par on the par -5 11.

“I often get the feeling that you… maybe undershoot 2 and say, ‘It could have been 6 or 7.’ But with the amount of putts I was making, it really couldn’t have been much better,” he said.

He was at 7-under 135, one shot ahead of Kramer Hickok, who had a 68.

Jordan Spieth is a big part of the weekend, wasting a great driving lap with some suspicious short irons. He still posted a 70 and was just two shots behind.

Also part of the weekend is Nick Gabrelcik, who grew up about 10 miles away and is a regular at the Valspar Championship – working the range, carrying signs and caddying in the Pro-Am. Now the University of North Florida junior is in the field with a sponsorship waiver.

Gabrelcik, who lost in the semifinals of the 2021 US Amateur tournament in Oakmont, opened with a 75 and responded with a 67 to easily make the cut. He was on an even par 142.

“As I went around I was like, ‘We’ve got nothing to lose, we’re 4 over so let’s just go out and have fun.’ Maybe it’s the last lap, maybe not,” said Gabrelcik. “I got the putter going early, made four birdies on my first five holes and said, ‘Okay, let’s just stick together, let’s not play defensively right now.’

“It’s a great feeling to make my first cut.”

Ludwig Aberg, the world’s No. 1 amateur, also made the cut. Aberg also played the weekend at Bay Hill.

Tommy Fleetwood had a 69 and joined Spieth in the group, two shots down, along with Cody Gribble (65) and Davis Riley (68), who lost to Sam Burns in a playoff last year at Innisbrook.

Burns, the two-time defending champion, is attempting to become the first player to win the same tournament three years in a row since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic (2009-11). He had a 73 and was seven shots behind.

Justin Thomas had a 70 and was 3-under 139 in the group.

Schenk had some close calls in his quest for his first win, like the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas in 2021 and the Barracuda Championship that same year.

He plays a lot anyway, but this year there’s a little more focus on that because his wife is expecting their first child, a boy, in just over a month.

“I’m trying to score as many points as possible to take as much time as possible and spend time with him and my wife, which will be very special,” said Schenk.

He began his year in Honolulu at the Sony Open and hasn’t had a week off since, going to California and Arizona and every stop on the Florida swing. He made all but two of the cuts and is No. 72 in the FedEx Cup.

The missed cut at The Players Championship last week may have helped.

“I was at home for 3 1/2 days and didn’t touch a bat,” said Schenk. “I would have practiced, but the weather in Indiana was so bad I really couldn’t. So I flew to Valspar on Tuesday afternoon and practiced a bit and then played nine holes and then pitched to the Pro-Am and off we went.”

The cut was 1 in 143. Among those missing was US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who has missed the cut three times in his past six tournaments. Fitzpatrick took a 9 on the third hole of the opening round and never caught up.

Harry Higgs had the latest big number. He took an 8 on the par 3 13th as he hit the water and then blasted across the green from the drop area into a bunker and then into the water. Higgs had two double bogeys and ended with an 81.

AP Golf: and

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