2021 Valspar Championship leaderboard: Who’s contending after round 3
Keegan Bradley, on the par-5 14th, floated his second shot over water on the right side of the hole, and it rolled under some trees before settling about 10 yards away from the pin. He had about 15 feet of green to work with, and it sloped back down to the fairway. “This is dead,” the announcer on the PGA Tour Live broadcast said. “Unless you’re Keegan Bradley.” Bradley chipped in. He was down three entering the hole, he’d leave down one, and he’s a co-leader entering the final round. He’s back from the dead. Here are three things you need to know after Saturday’s third round of the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns lead
Sam Burns, the other co-leader, would find new life, too.
He had eagled the par-5 1st — and nearly made a 2 — and birdied 3 and 5. Then he parred 6 through 15. Then he bogeyed the par-4 16th when his approach jumped over the green. Then he hit his tee shot into the trap on the par-4 18th, and he fried-egged his approach into the bunker on the left side of the green.
Burns would then drop an 8-footer for a bogey to stop the bleeding. He and Bradley each shot two-under 69s for a share of a one-shot lead over Max Homa, and a four-stroke advantage over four players.
“I think I played really well,” Burns said. “I got off to a great start. I thought I hit a really good tee shot on 16, it just snuck through the fairway there and just not really a good spot.
“And then 18, I thought that ball was in the fairway. I think it just kicked dead left and then into a bad lie in the bunker and then it plugged on the next one. So I would have taken 5 after seeing where that plugged bunker shot was. So overall I think I played solid.”
Max Homa is a stroke behind
Homa, through two rounds, had made five putts longer than 25 feet, tied for the most from that distance through a halfway point since 2003. He’d add two more on Saturday.
On the par-5 15th, he dropped a 28-footer for birdie. Then on 18, he rolled in a 32-footer. The putts gave him a five-under 66, and he’s the stroke back.
“Everything felt really in control,” he said. “I had my best ball-striking day for sure today. Didn’t hit a ton of greens but just never really — only one time I felt like I was out of position — really struck the ball well, kept making putts. So that’s been fun.”
Ted Potter Jr. takes only 20 putts
Potter two-putted the 2nd hole. And the 17th hole. He one-putted every other green.
He’d shoot an eight-under 63, the day’s best round by three shots.
“I hit a lot of good iron shots today, too, to give myself good looks at some birdies,” Potter said. “I had a lot of putts that didn’t have a lot of break to them, so that helped a lot out there.”