Valspar leader is on a superhuman streak — for a heartwarming reason

Adam Schenk of the United States lines up a putt on the tenth green during the third round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 18, 2023 in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Move over Sungjae Im, there’s a new Iron Man on the PGA Tour.

Valspar Championship leader Adam Schenk is in the midst of his 10th event on the PGA Tour in as many weeks. He made his first start of the calendar year at the Sony Open, finishing tied for 67th in Hawaii and hasn’t taken a week off since.

And throughout that stretch, he’s only taken two of those weekends off, making eight cuts, including this week. Impressive for a player who has a career cuts made rate of 59 percent. But perhaps a blessing in disguise, for this week at least, was his missed cut last week at the Players Championship.

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“I was home for three and a half days and didn’t touch a club,” Schenk said Friday after he took the 36-hole lead. “I would have practiced, but the weather was so bad in Indiana, I really couldn’t. So flew into [Tampa] Tuesday afternoon and got a little practice in and then played nine holes and then teed up in the pro-am and away we went.”

Schenk, who turned his 36-hole lead into a 54-hole lead Saturday when he stuck his approach on 18 to five feet to get in at eight under, said he likes to play a lot normally. In all but one of his previous five seasons on the PGA Tour, he’s played 31 events or more (four of his 32 in 2018 were Korn Ferry Tour events).

The Valspar is his 17th event already this season, only Ryan Brehm (who himself is playing his 11th event in a row at Valspar), has played more events in 2022-23. On Friday, he explained the reason for the superhuman-like run.

“[My wife is] having a little baby boy here in about a month and a half,” he said. “So trying to make as many points as I can to take as much time off as I can and spend time with him and my wife, which will be very special.”

So far this season, Schenk is 72nd in the FedEx Cup standings, one off his career-best if he were to hold that spot. It’s also just two off what will be the cutline into the FedEx Cup Playoffs in August. A win or even just a solid finish would go a long way to allowing him the flexibility to be with his family and potentially make the postseason for the first time in his career.

It’s not the easiest life and the demand on his body can take a toll when you factor in travel, practice rounds and then two or four tournament rounds (This writer hurts just thinking about that much golf).

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However, over his nine years as pro, he’s figured out some tricks to get ready each week.

“There’s different ways you can practice,” Schenk said. “Reading a book. That’s very calming for me. So that might be better practice for 30 minutes than coming out here and beating balls for an hour and a half. So I can go back home and read myself help psychology books or whatever and have a couple beers.”

Turns out it’s not just you and your buddies who use beer as “swing oil.”

Schenk goes off in the final group Sunday with Jordan Spieth, holding a one shot lead over Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood at eight under.

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