Davis leads Valspar with 65

Brian Davis of England¬† shot 6-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Sean O’Hair and Ricky Barnes after the first round of the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The 40-year-old Davis, who has finished second five times and never won on the PGA Tour, collected five of his eight birdies on the back nine after starting at No. 10, and then chipped in from 27 feet for a birdie while finishing on No. 9 to grab sole possession of the lead.

“I got off to a decent start, made some birdies on the front nine and kept the momentum going on the back,” said Davis, who has won the 2002 Open Peugeot de Espana and the 2004 ANZ Championship on the European Tour. “I had a couple of hiccups, but you have to expect that on this course.

“I had a decent look at the chip (on his final hole) and it was going into the grain, so you can be a little bit more aggressive with it. I was lucky that it hit the pin and dropped in. I’m delighted to get in at 6-under.”

O’Hair, who has won four times on the PGA Tour but not since the 2011 RBC Canadian Open, also had eight birdies in his round, including five while finishing a 66 on the front nine.

Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion from Stockton who does not have an official pro victory, would have had a share of the lead but he missed a three-foot par putt on the 17th hole and recorded his only bogey in his 66.

Henrik Stenson of Sweden sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole to complete a bogey-free 67 and was tied for fourth with Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe, who wedged his second shot from 126 yards into the hole for an eagle at No. 14, rookie Justin Thomas, Derek Ernst, Nicholas Thompson and Alex Cejka of Germany, who won the Puerto Rico Open last week.

 

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