Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Thursday, March 8th, 2018

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Snedeker soars up the Valspar board in R1 03-08-2018
Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker carved out a 1-under-par 36-34=70 during the opening round of the Valspar Championship, placing him in a share of eighth place, just three of the lead. Making his return to Innisbrook Resort after a two-year absence, Snedeker opened on the back nine and scribbled nine pars over his first 11 holes, circling birdies on the other two holes. It was a bumpy ride from there (two birdies, three bogeys) but overall this round beat the field average by 2.865 strokes. The highlights of the round all came in the short-game department. First he sank a 22'1" birdie at the par-5 fifth and followed it up with a 46'1" hole out for birdie at the sixth hole. The latter was a big reason why the Vandy product walked off the course gaining 1.940 strokes around-the-green.
Andrew Putnam steady in R1 of the Valspar 03-08-2018
Andrew Putnam
Andrew Putnam finds himself inside the top 10 after round one of the Valspar Championship, carding a 1-under-par 34-36=70 during day one of his tournament debut. Putnam split eight (of 13) fairways today while landing 11 greens in regulation. That was good for +0.707 strokes gained off-the-tee and +0.840 strokes gained on approach. However, most of the scoring was accomplished with the flat stick, sinking four putts from outside seven feet. On the flip side, two of his three bogeys came after finding a bunker. If Putnam can avoid the beach or improve his sand play then he might be in line for his second top 25 of the season, with the first coming at this year's CareerBuilder.
Glover gets going early in Palm Harbor, FL 03-08-2018
Lucas Glover
Lucas Glover sprinted out of the gate in round one of the Valspar Championship, signing for a 1-under-par 34-36=70 to find himself in a share of eighth place on the live leaderboard. The Clemson product is enjoying the TOUR's return to the East Coast. He pieced together a T17 at the Honda Classic in his most recent start and now finds himself inside the top 10 after trading three birdies with two bogeys. In opposite fashion as usual, Glover actually lost strokes approaching-the-green but picked up 2.648 strokes on the putting surfaces. By day's end, he rolled in four putts from outside nine feet. Glover entered with top 25s in two of his last three Valspar starts and he's on pace to make that three in his last four.
Walker blemish-free in Valspar opening lap 03-08-2018
Jimmy Walker
Jimmy Walker continues to show glimpses of a return to form, peddling a 2-under-par 35-34=69 during round one of the Valspar Championship, just two strokes off the lead set by Corey Conners. Still working his way back from Lyme disease, piecing together bogey-free rounds has not been easy for Walker over the past year. Battling with blustery conditions at Innisbrook Resort, the wind was no match for this Texan as he carded 16 pars and 2 birdies. The highlight of the round came early at the par-3 fourth where he nearly aced the 189-yard hole, tapping in from inside two feet. Just as important were two clutch par-savers coming down the home stretch, both from just outside 10 feet. Gamers should continue to monitor the form of Walker as the game appears to be rounding back into shape.
Knox off to a quick start @ Innisbrook Resort 03-08-2018
Russell Knox
Russell Knox styled a 2-under-par 36-33=69 during round one of the Valspar Championship, good for a piece of fifth place after 18 holes of action in Palm Harbor, Florida. Knox started his day on the 10th tee and roared out of the gate with three birdies over his first seven holes. That included a 48'2" hole out for birdie at the 13th. The Scot cooled his pace as the day progressed but still managed to lap the field average by nearly four strokes today (current field average: 72.87). The Florida resident is making his sixth appearance at this event, with a T25 in 2014 being the best on his current resume. With top 30s in four of his last six starts, gamers should start penciling him in for another this week but he still needs to keep his foot on the gas for three more days. The Copperhead Course can very quickly sap the energy out of a golfer's score.
Tiger Woods signs colorful card in Round 1 03-08-2018
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods got the scoring machine revved up early in the week at the Valspar Championship, piecing together a 1-under 34-36=70 during round one, just three off the pace set by Corey Conners. On a day where the Copperhead Course was yielding birdie or better on less than 14 percent of holes, Woods doubled the field average by circling five birdies (27.8% BoB). His irons weren't laser-sharp all day but his good shots were really good. Most notable was his 200-yard tee shot at the par-3 17th where he carved a 5-iron that led to a 19-inch tap-in birdie. Earlier in the day he nearly one-hopped his approach at the par-4 seventh. Woods continues to show improvement and is rounding into form ahead of next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, played on a course where he's won eight times in his career. Not to get ahead of ourselves as he currently sits in a share of eighth place and could be in the mix come Sunday.
Watney one back thru 18 holes at Valspar 03-08-2018
Nick Watney
Nick Watney traced out a 3-under-par 34-34=68 during round one of the Valspar Championship, placing him one off the early pace set by Corey Conners. Watney started his day at the 10th tee and swallowed a bogey on the opening hole. He climbed back immediately by draining an 11-footer for birdie at the par-5 11th. His first big highlight came at the par-4 16th where he dunked his 66-foot greenside bunker shot for a second birdie of the round. Three holes later he picked up a big chunk on the field when he splashed home a 20'7" eagle putt at the par-5 first. At the moment that was one of just two eagles recorded on the entire course today. Watney entered with a perfect 10-for-10 record at the Valspar so there must be something about the Copperhead Course that suits his eye.
Chris Kirk scrambles to R1 70 at the Valspar 03-08-2018
Chris Kirk
Chris Kirk is off to a good start at the Valspar Championship, carding a 1-under-par 36-34=70 during round one, placing right outside the top-10 bubble on the live leaderboard with play still in progress. Battling with Mother Nature in round one, Kirk split just six fairways and landed 10 greens in regulation. On the day, he gave himself just one scoring chance inside 15 feet, a 12'9" birdie opportunity on the first hole, which he missed. All three of his birdies came in a train, starting at the par-3 13th and ending with a 15'2" hole out from just off the green at the 15th. Given the average ball-striking day, scrambling was the name of the game today. Playing his ninth round at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course, this will go in the books as just his second round in red numbers.
Luke Donald cards bogey-free 70 in R1 03-08-2018
Luke Donald
Luke Donald steadied a bogey-free, 1-under-par 35-35=70 during the opening round of the Valspar Championship, good for a share of ninth place on the live leaderboard. The Englishman put on a clinic today, teaching a lesson in saving par. Splitting seven (of 13) fairways and landing 10 greens, it wasn't his ball-striking that did the job today. Instead, he rolled in eight par-savers from outside six feet, including a 25'8" par-saver at the sixth hole. On the day, Donald had just four scoring chances from inside 15 feet. This is Donald's first fast start for quite some time, positioning himself inside the top 30 after R1 for the first time since the RBC Heritage, 11 months ago. Innisbrook Resort has been a happy hunting ground for the Englishman, winning the 2012 edition on top of three other top-6 finishes. Last year was the first time he's missed the cut at the Valspar in nine tries.
Sabbatini keeps form rolling in R1 of Valspar 03-08-2018
Rory Sabbatini
Rory Sabbatini continued his run of good play with an opening round 1-under-par 38-32=70 at the Valspar Championship, good for a share of eighth place on the live leaderboard. The South African was T12 after R1 of his most recent start, the Honda Classic, and he's off to another quick one. Sabbatini started his week on the 10th tee and carded a blemish-free 3-under 32 before making the turn. All three of those circles came from the 14-to-18 foot range including a 17'9" hole out at the 17th, proving the Snake Pit was no match for him today. From there, he eased off the gas, trading three bogeys with just one more birdie. Sabbatini gained nearly three strokes over the field today and 2.267 of those came via the putter. The soon-to-be 38-year-old is sneakily finding some form, entering with T31 or better in three of his last four starts. Gamers should take notice if they haven't already.
Conners sets the pace early in R1 of Valspar 03-08-2018
Corey Conners
Corey Conners twirled the low round of the morning wave in round one of the Valspar Championship, carding a 4-under-par 32-35=67 that was error-free until the final hole, good for the title of early clubhouse leader. The Canadian eased his way around the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, splitting nine (of 13) fairways on his way toward 11 GIRs. Like you need to do at this tough layout, he remained patient and then capitalized with some bonus birdies. In this case, it was three bonus birdies, splashing in a trio of putts from the 16-to-25 foot range. That was good for +3.098 strokes gained putting at the time he signed his card. Conners was a Monday afternoon addition to the field when Kyle Stanley withdrew and he's taking full advantage early. While Conners is 9-for-10 in his rookie campaign, this will be the first time he's positioned himself inside the top 15 after ANY round on the PGA TOUR.
Bradley off to a strong start at Innisbrook 03-08-2018
Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley breezed through Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course during round one of the Valspar Championship, tossing together a 2-under-par 34-35=69 to find himself right in the mix on day one. Bradley set up this round with solid striking off the tee, missing just four (of 13) fairways while battling blustery conditions in the Tampa area. His approach play wasn't as tight but stellar short game sealed the deal for Bradley. By day's end he found his way into five greenside bunkers and one fairway bunker, dropping just one shot on those holes. The 31-year-old typically strikes the ball better than today, but if that part of his game comes around and his short game stays put, he should stick around near the top all week. Bradley fans and fantasy owners shouldn't count their chickens just yet, as this is the site of his notorious first-round lead --> Missed Cut back in 2016.
Kevin Na (neck) WDs from the Valspar 03-08-2018
Kevin Na
Prior to his first-round tee time, Kevin Na has withdrawn from this week's Valspar Championship, citing a neck injury. He will be replaced by Adam Schenk. Na was set to begin his week at 1:08 p.m. ET alongside Nick Taylor and Martin Laird. Instead, his 11th-hour withdraw was announced at 12:42 p.m. meaning this was likely a last-minute decision on whether to give it a go or not. Na was arriving fresh off a runner-up finish at the Genesis Open in his latest start (three weeks ago). That was his first podium finish since the 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge. Season-long gamers should be optimistic about the Genesis Open result but DFSers and other short-term managers should proceed with caution the next time Na pegs it.
Kraft keeps momentum in R1 of the Valspar 03-08-2018
Kelly Kraft
Kelly Kraft coasted to a 3-under-par 34-34=68 during the opening round of the Valspar Championship, good for an early seat inside the top 5 on the leaderboard. Kraft was on cruise control with his irons today. Despite some windy conditions, the SMU product pelted 12 greens in regulation. That was good for 2.016 strokes gained approaching-the-green, highlighted by his par-3 fourth tee ball where he stuck the 189-yard shot to inside a foot. This is Kraft's second appearance at the Valspar, finishing T65 in his debut last year. Now that we've left the West Coast, Kraft has connected with a T8 at the Honda Classic and is now right in the mix here in Palm Harbor. Gamers should take note that only one of his nine career top 25s have come on courses played in states to the west of Texas.
Whee Kim connects in R1 of the Valspar 03-08-2018
Whee Kim
Whee Kim caught fire in round one of the Valspar Championship, penciling a 3-under-par 34-34=68 to place himself inside the top 5 on the very early leaderboard. Kim entered the week on the heels of six straight missed cuts but he flipped the script today. Battling with blustery conditions at Innisbrook Resort, Kim split eight (of 13) fairways en route to 10 GIRs. While the ball-striking was steady but not spectacular, his flat stick did most of the work. By day's end he splashed home six putts from outside seven feet, including birdie bombs from 23'3" and 31'10" at the 5th and 9th holes, respectively. Kim lasted just 27 holes at this event last year before a mid-tourney WD (back). He also posted a T53 in his 2016 Valspar debut. Signing his sixth scorecard at the Copperhead Course, this will be the first in red numbers for Kim.
Warren enjoys another good start; T6 in India 03-08-2018
Marc Warren
Marc Warren kept the birdies flowing in round one of the Hero Indian Open at DLF Golf & Country Club, scribbling seven red numbers in a 4-under-par 33-35=68 which left him three shots behind clubhouse leader Emiliano Grillo. That's worth T6 on the live board with the opening lap coming to a conclusion. The Scot has now broken 70 in his last four first rounds so he's one to consider if looking for a fast starter. However, he's not been able to convert any into good finishes, having to settle for T67 at the Maybank, T63 in Oman and T53 in Qatar. Today, he burst from the gates with circles at 1, 2 and 4 before he gave a shot back at the par-3 5th. That setback didn't deter him and Warren added par breakers at 8, 11 and 12 to move to T2. There was a late sticky patch as he swallowed bogeys at 14 and 16 but they were split by a final birdie of the day at 15 and two closing pars completed a fine day's work. Now his task is to make better use of it and that's far from a given on a track where bogeys and doubles lurk at every turn.
Grillo grabs first-round lead at Indian Open 03-08-2018
Emiliano Grillo
With a walk-off birdie, afternoon starter Emiliano Grillo completed a superb 7-under-par 32-33=65 in round one of the Hero Indian Open, earning a two-shot clubhouse lead over Pablo Larrazabal, Paul Peterson and Matteo Manassero. That trio had posted their scores early at DLF G&CC but the Argentine golfer produced some scintillating play to cruise past. There was nothing much to shout about early as he traded an opening birdie with a bogey at the next but from the 5th hole Grillo didn't put a foot wrong. He painted red at No. 5 to get under par again for the day and then reeled off five birdies in his next seven holes, including a run of three straight at 7, 8 and 9. On a day when bogeys, doubles and worse were rife, the World No. 76 avoided the errors and cashed in on the par-5 18th to extend his lead to two shots. Grillo arrived in India full of confidence after T8 in the Honda Classic and T12 at Torrey Pines two starts earlier. A big week here will get him into the WGC-Dell Match Play so he has plenty of incentive too.
Peterson has piece of early lead at DLF G&CC 03-08-2018
Paul Peterson
Paul Peterson hung up a 5-under-par 34-33=67 on the first morning of the Hero Indian Open at DLF Golf & Country Club and shares top spot in the clubhouse with Pablo Larrazabal and Matteo Manassero. While his two fellow co-leaders had rollercoaster rides with cards showing bursts of red but also a double bogey each, Peterson made more serene progress. In fact, with three holes to play, his only deviations from par were a pair of birdies at at 11 and 16 against a single bogey at 6. Perhaps the dropped shot angered him as the American left-hander responded with a hat-trick of closing birdies to jump up to T1. Last year in tough conditions, Peterson started with a 70 to be T7 after day one and nudged up to T6 at the midpoint before collapsing to T55 after a poor weekend. He can clearly work his way around this course so will look to make a better job of converting this fast start.
Manassero off to another fast start in India 03-08-2018
Matteo Manassero
Matteo Manassero sprinkled nine birdies on his card and torched DLF Golf & Country Club for a 5-under-par 36-31=67 in round one of the Hero Indian Open, good enough for a piece of the early clubhouse lead with Pablo Larrazabal and Paul Peterson. The Italian opened with 68 here 12 months ago to be in the top three after the first 18 holes and rode that good start to finish tied tied third. He'll hope for something similar now after going one better on a course where he was one of just seven players to finish under par for the week in 2017. Manassero, who has managed just a single top 10 since his T3 here last year, picked up early birdies at 12 and 14 but then suffered a real wobble with a double at 15 and another dropped shot at the next. A bounceback birdie at 17 and a closing par balanced the books and on the second nine he really cashed in on the good scoring conditions with red circles at 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9 against a single bogey at 8 to hit the summit. It's not everyone's cup of tea but clearly Manassero enjoys the track and this is the World No. 411's lowest round since May's Rocco Forte Open.
Larrazábal leaves it late; T1 at Indian Open 03-08-2018
Pablo Larrazabal
Pablo Larrazábal had to dash through New Delhi traffic to make his tee-time in round one of the Hero Indian Open but made light of the drama by blasting nine birdies in a 5-under-par 34-33=67 to take a share of the lead on the opening morning at DLF G&CC. Phew! The Spaniard was still in bed 38 minutes before his 07.00 start time but received a wake-up call from a Tour official and then raced to the course via a courtesy driver. Unfazed, he opened par-birdie but ran into trouble at 15 where he swallowed double bogey-7. Larrazabal responded with a hat-trick of birdies at 16, 17 and 18 before a bogey at the 1st knocked him back to 1-under. This was no ordinary day though and he surged through the field with five straight circles from the 4th before a closing bogey left him tied at the top with American Paul Peterson and Italian Matteo Manassero. His lap included a four-putt and two three-putts. This fast start is interesting on another level. Larrazabal can be outspoken about course set-ups and this track has come in for plenty of criticism but, as we wrote in yesterday's blurb, he'd taken to social to describe DLF G&CC as an "awesome test of golf", his tweet garnering a "muchas gracias amigo" from designer Gary Player.