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Originally published Friday, March 14, 2014 at 7:50 PM

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Fishing and fun spark Robert Garrigus to a three-stroke lead at Valspar Championship

Practice rounds take a back seat to bass fishing in Florida

The Associated Press

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Robert Garrigus can’t recall a better performance going into the weekend. And his golf has been pretty good, too.

Garrigus spent most of the practice days fishing in the lakes of Innisbrook, catching nearly three dozen bass. As for his day job, he bagged 10 birdies over two days and delivered the best score of the tournament, a 5-under 66 Friday, to build a three-shot lead in the Valspar Championship.

His only other PGA Tour victory was a little more than an hour away at Disney, and Garrigus offered a simple explanation.

“It’s the fishing,” he said.

Garrigus didn’t play a single practice round the year he won Disney. He arrived at Innisbrook on Monday and fished that evening, most of Tuesday and then for about five hours Wednesday without ever looking at the Copperhead course.

“I think that puts me in a good frame of mind because I’m clear and not thinking about anything, just going out and having some fun.”

His golf has been plenty fun. Garrigus, one of the longest hitters in golf, has made birdie on all of the par 5s both rounds. That has contributed mightily to being at 7-under 135, three shots clear of Kevin Na going into a weekend with a Masters spot potentially up for grabs.

Na had a 68, while the group four shots behind included Pat Perez (71), Matteo Manassero (70), Justin Rose (68), who is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7, and Matt Every (71), all at 3-under 139.

Michael Putnam of University Place is tied for 12th after a 72 for a 1-under 141. Richard H. Lee (77-149) of Bellevue and Kyle Stanley (78-151) of Gig Harbor didn’t make the cut.

Daly suffers a 90

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — John Daly has gone 17 consecutive years on the PGA Tour with at least one round in the 80s. He didn’t even manage that Friday in the Valspar Championship.

He missed a 4-foot putt on the last hole at Innisbrook and shot a career-high 90.

“I didn’t give up,” Daly said. “I tried.”

He used up 12 of those shots on the 16th hole — tied for his fourth-highest score on any one hole — but was more concerned with the putting yips.

He took 70 putts over two days, including a four-putt on the second hole Friday.

On the 16th hole, he hit three shots in the water, had a shank and then needed three chips to reach the green.


Bernhard Langer birdied three of the last four holes for an 8-under 63 and a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach. Calif. Seattle native Fred Couples, Jeff Hart and Taiwan’s Chien Soon Lu shot 65, while Pullman High graduate Kirk Triplett was another stroke back. Rick Fehr of Redmond had a 71 and is tied for 36th.

Alejandro Canizares of Spain retained a one-stroke lead over Steve Benson of England by shooting a 4-under 68 in the second round of the Trophee Hassan II in Agadir, Morocco.

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