Schenk holds one-shot lead over Spieth, Fleetwood at Valspar Championship
Jordan Spieth carded a 69 to sit one shot off the lead at seven-under; the three-time major winner opened with an eagle, and led by as many as two shots during his round, but he made only three pars over his final 12 holes
Last Updated: 19/03/23 12:09am
Adam Schenk held on to his lead at the Valspar Championship on Saturday, albeit with Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Spieth closing to within one shot of him heading into the final round.
Schenk hit his approach on the 18th to within five feet and sunk the resulting birdie putt for a one-under round of 70, snatching a one-shot advantage at the end of a wild and windy round.
“We didn’t have a ton go our way until the very end,” Schenk said.
Neither did Fleetwood, who opened his round with a birdie but followed with 12-straight pars. He wound up with a bogey-free 69 to sit a seven under and with a share of second place on the leaderboard with Spieth.
It was he who dictated the action on Saturday. The American also scored a 69, but wasted numerous chances to separate himself from the field.
Spieth opened with an eagle, and led by as many as two shots during his round. But he made only three pars over his final 12 holes – on four of those occasions, he followed a bogey with a birdie.
But that ended on the 18th when he hit a tree on his drive, went into a front bunker and then blasted by the pin to the collar for a final bogey.
“I didn’t have my best stuff in the approach game, but overall I’m in a good spot for tomorrow,” Spieth said.
“I made a few too many mistakes, but overall in these conditions, I think I would have signed for two under.”
The weather was as wild as his round, gusting to 20 mph and shifting to an entirely different direction as the final groups were on the back nine.
Rain that was expected never arrived, though Innisbrook was expecting showers overnight that could put a premium on scoring.
Schenk, sitting at eight under, will play in the final group with Spieth, whose game appears to be rounding into form with the Masters on the horizon.
Eight players are within three shots of the lead. Webb Simpson had a 68 that included a bogey on the par-five 14th when he hit into the water while trying to lay up.
He was two shots behind, along with Taylor Moore (69) and Cody Gribble (70). Patton Kizzire had a 67 and sits at five under, along with Wyndham Clark and Englishman Matt Wallace.
Wallace’s countryman Fleetwood was the steadiest of the bunch. He made birdie on the par-five opening hole and the par-five 14th, and was had a collection of big par putts to keep some momentum.
“I kept plugging away,” Fleetwood said. “Pars were good. Birdies were hard to come by.
“I never went backward. I was very happy with anything par or better.”
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