Palm Harbor, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – With scores not going quite as low as
they were in the first round, Brendon de Jonge carded a 2-under 69 in Friday’s
second round and he took a 1-shot lead over five others heading into the
weekend at the Valspar Championship.
De Jonge, still looking for his first career victory in his 221st start on the
PGA Tour, finished 36 holes at 6-under-par 136. The 34-year-old finished tied
for second at the McGladrey Classic early on this season.
“It’s tricky out there, you know,” said de Jonge. “It’s one of those golf
courses where it’s tough enough to get it in the fairway when it’s still and
then when the wind blows it obviously added difficulty.”
A couple big names sit just one shot back of de Jonge, including world No. 3
Henrik Stenson (70) and Jordan Spieth (67). That duo is joined in a tie for
second at 5-under 137 with Ryan Moore (68), Kevin Streelman (69) and Derek
Lucas Glover (69), Ian Poulter (70), Ricky Barnes (72) and 2008 champion Sean
O’Hair (72) are one shot further back at minus-4 on the Copperhead Course at
Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort.
First-round leader Brian Davis struggled on his way to a 5-over 76 and that
dropped him into a tie for 27th at 1-under 141. Defending champion John Senden
(71) finished at 3-over 145 and he missed the cut.
Beginning the day two shots behind Davis, de Jonge started his round on the
back nine, where he did not get off to an ideal start.
Four pars from No. 10 began de Jonge’s round before he made a mess of the
par-5 14th on his way to a bogey, dropping him back to 1-over for the round.
Following a trio of pars from No. 15, de Jonge made the turn in a big way as
he drained a 27-foot birdie putt on No. 18, pulling him back to even par.
De Jonge made it back-to-back birdies as he poured in a 16-foot birdie putt on
No. 1, getting him into red numbers for the first time. De Jonge went on
cruise control for a while when he made four straight pars from No. 2
De Jonge traded a bogey on six for a birdie on seven and he later closed out
his second round with a 6-foot birdie conversion on No. 9.
Spieth tied for the best round of the day, which is why he was able to jump
into a tie for second. He had a great start to his round with birdies on one,
three and six before tripping to a bogey on seven.
It was an up-and-down back nine for Spieth as he made four birdies and two
bogeys. A birdie at the last completed Spieth’s 67.
Stenson, making his first appearance at this event, holed a 20-foot eagle putt
at the par-5 first, but he gave those two shots back with bogeys on two and
nine. Stenson then made eight straight pars from No. 10 before draining a
birdie at the last.
“It was a bit of a weird day or a bit of a slow day for me,” said Stenson. “I
got off to a great start … A lot of fighting, grinding for pars. It was
blowing pretty hard there and you have to hit some good shots to hit some
Moore converted four birdies and just one bogey in his round, while Streelman
also had four gains to go along with two bogeys.
Ernst, playing in the later pairings, held the lead throughout most of the day
before a tough finish. He did not get off to a great start, however, as he
made two bogeys on 12 and 13 to go along with a birdie on 11.
Ernst surpassed de Jonge, who had the clubhouse lead as a member of the early
groups, with five straight birdies from No. 17. Now at 8-under and two shots
ahead of de Jonge, Ernst began his move down the leaderboard with a bogey on
Still in the lead at minus-7, Ernst closed with bogeys on seven and eight
along with pars on five, six and nine.
NOTES: Spieth already has three top-10 finishes in six events this season …
De Jonge finished tied for 10th at last week’s Puerto Rico Open … Jonathan
Byrd made a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th … With the cut falling at 1-over
143, 71 players advanced to play the weekend … Adam Scott (75) finished at
4-over 146 and missed the cut, breaking a streak of 45 consecutive cuts made,
which was highest current PGA Tour streak … Also missing the cut were Jamie
Donaldson, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and Padraig Harrington.