Defending champ Casey shares midway Valspar lead

Miami – Defending champion Paul Casey fired a five-under par 66 to seize a share of the 36-hole lead alongside American Austin Cook dinner on the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship on Friday.

England’s Casey and Cook dinner every stood on six-under 136 after two rounds on the Innisbrook Resort Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Florida.

England’s Luke Donald, South Korean Im Sung-jae and American Scott Stallings have been a stroke again on 137.

Donald had 5 birdies and 4 bogeys in his one-under 70, surrendering a one-shot lead with two bogeys in his final 4 holes. Im posted a 67 and Stallings a 68.

Casey, who edged Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed by a stroke final yr for the crown, started on the again 9 and promptly birdied three of his first 4 holes, sinking a 10-foot putt at 10 and touchdown his third shot inches from the cup earlier than a tap-in on the par-5 11th.

Casey scored on the opposite par-5 holes as properly, sinking a three-foot birdie putt at 14, a six-footer on the first earlier than holing a 27-footer for eagle on the fifth.

“I really feel actually good about (my recreation) as a result of final week was garbage,” mentioned Casey, who was stung by a missed reduce on the Gamers Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

“I battle a bit of bit round Sawgrass and that annoyed me, aggravated me, coming in right here attempting to defend my title, which I might like to do as a result of I by no means defended an expert title, I’ve defended beginner titles, English Amateurs and PAC 12 titles, I might love to try this right here.

“So I labored very, very onerous on the sport and for no matter purpose it is slowed issues down. Quieted the transition on the prime of the swing,” Casey mentioned. “Good to show it round after final week to instantly be not answerable for this occasion however I am close to the highest, which is nice.”

Casey’s lone bogey got here on his closing ninth gap, discovering bunkers together with his first two pictures and lacking a six-footer for par.

“Disappointing on 9,” Casey mentioned. “However everyone’s going to make bogeys. In the event you can simply reduce these, it places you in an excellent place.”

Cook dinner had 5 birdies and one bogey in his four-under 67.

He opened with a birdie from seven ft, added a tap-in birdie on the par-Four third after which ran off three birdies in a row with 12-foot putts on the ninth and par-5 11th round one half as lengthy to start the again 9.

His solely bogey got here at 12 after discovering a greenside bunker.

World primary Dustin Johnson was amongst three gamers on 138 after a 69 that included a double-bogey on the par-three 13th – the place his tee quick tee shot discovered the water.

Johnson, who performed alongside Casey, was two-over by way of 9 holes however made 5 of his six birdies coming in to submit a 69 that left him tied with Joel Dahmen (72) and Curtis Luck (68).

Main second-round scores on Friday on the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship at Palm Harbor, Florida (USA until famous, par 71):

136 – Paul Casey (ENG) 70-66, Austin Cook dinner 69-67

137 – Scott Stallings 69-68, Im Sung-jae (KOR) 70-67, Luke Donald 67-70

138 – Dustin Johnson 69-69, Joel Dahmen 66-72, Curtis Luck 70-68

– Roberto Castro 68-71, Lucas Glover 72-67, Shawn Stefani 68-71, Kramer
Hickok 71-68, Rory Sabbatini (SVK) 70-69, Jon Rahm (ESP) 71-68

– Brandt Snedeker 70-70, Bubba Watson 69-71, Jim Furyk 69-71, Danny
Willett (ENG) 69-71, Ryan Blaum 73-67, Sam Saunders 71-69, Brian Stuard
68-72, Jason Kokrak 69-71

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