Graeme McDowell added a 73 to his opening 74 to return a disappointing five-over par showing at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.
In truth, the damage was done on Thursday but McDowell would’ve hoped for more from his efforts on Friday to give him something to build on ahead of a busy stretch of golf.
After the high of a hole-in-one at last week’s Zurich Classic alongside Matt Wallace, there was little to cheer at Palm Harbour as the 41-year old signed off with two bogeys, a double and two birdies for his five-over tally, missing the cut by six shots, 17 behind the leaders.
Out in front, Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns opened up a four-shot cushion on the field at the halfway point in Florida, with Bradley adding a 66 to his opening 64 before Burns joined him in the clubhouse at 12-under par after firing eight birdies in a bogey-free 63.
“I didn’t even realise it was bogey-free until you said that,” Burn said post-round. “I think early I had a couple — I think on 3 and 4 I had six, seven feet for par. Made a good birdie on 1. Hit a bad tee shot there I was able to convert from, with a wedge. And then I think those putts on 3 and 4 were huge just to kind of keep the momentum going.”
Burns had a one-shot lead after 54 holes in the Vivint Houston Open in November and closed with a 72 to tie for seventh. He had a two-shot lead at Riviera going into the last round and shot 69 to finish one shot out of a playoff won by Homa.
“For me it’s just sticking to what I’ve been doing, having a good game plan going into the day,” he said. “I know over the weekend there will be some challenges, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
As for Bradley, he finished his round in style; holing out with what he described as the “perfect” wedge for a walk-off eagle ‘2’ at the par-4 ninth before being joined at the top late in the day by Burns.
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“I birdied 6 and eagled 9 and I turned a good day into a great day. Man, it was a fun day and what a way to finish. It was a blast,” said Bradley.
“I had 119 adjusted, hole. I played six yard of hurt, 125, it was a little into the wind, and I hit a perfect shot. And like I’ve been saying, you can’t see the green from down there, so you have to wait for the crowd’s reaction. And when everyone puts their arms up normally that means it goes in. So another bonus of having fans out here, it makes it a lot more exciting for everybody.”
In an all-American first five on the leaderboard, Max Homa, Charley Hoffman and Lucas Glover are next best, four shots back at eight-under with Charl Schwartztel, Sungjae Im and Tom Lewis among the group at -7.
- Full scoring HERE