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Xander Schauffele positions himself at the top from the get-go

Streelman has more than enough with one thrust to be the leader

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Kevin Streelman
Kevin Streelman

Kevin Streelman (-7) is the sole leader of the Valspar Championship after the first day. The veteran golfer from Illinois, 45 years old, a double winner on the PGA Tour, has handed in a sensational card of 64 strokes and has taken the lead with a one-stroke advantage over Kevin Roy. From Kevin to Kevin and it’s my turn.

It’s Streelman’s best round of golf in almost eight months. The last time he shot 64 was last July, on the first day of the 3M Open, and he finished second. There’s not much mystery to his result. On the Copperhead course at Innisbrook, it’s all about hitting very strokes to green and the American has been the best of all, gaining more than three strokes compared to the tournament average.

If we add to this great performance with the irons a hot putter, the equation is solved. He has chained ten greens to a putt between holes 13 and 5. Ten out of ten. From thrust to thrust. He started playing the first day by the 10. He is the only golfer who has handed in a card without errors.

Streelman is a familiar face on this tough PGA Tour course. After all, he achieved his first victory on the American circuit here in 2013. At that time, the tournament was called the Tampa Bay Championship. If this player has shown anything during his career, it is that he leaves them very close when he is inspired and is capable of linking many holes making birdie. A streaky golfer.

Two strokes behind Streelman, sharing third place, are Carl Yuan, Peter Malnati and Adam Svensson. The main favourites for victory have positioned themselves more than decently after these first 18 holes. None are in the top 10, but they are not far off. Xander Schauffele (-3) has managed to prolong his sensational form, Taylor Moore (-2), defending champion, has presented his credentials to renew the title for another year, Jordan Spieth (-2) has saved the day with a great finish and Nick Taylor (-3) is another one who is not missing the good vibes.

The provisional cut has been set at -1, so Jorge Campillo (PAR) will have to beat the field this Friday to be there at the weekend, unless the results are somewhat worse in the second round.

Live results of the Valspar Championship