Adam Schenk hits out of the bunker on the fourth hole through the second round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament Friday, March 17, 2023, at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Adam Schenk looked as even though he and everybody else would get passed by Jordan Spieth on Saturday at the Valspar Championship. When a wild and windy round completed, Schenk was nonetheless the player everybody was chasing.

Schenk hit his strategy to the 18th hole to five feet and produced the birdie putt for a 1-beneath 70, providing him a one particular-shot lead more than Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood as he goes soon after his very first victory on the PGA Tour.

“We didn’t have a ton go our way till the really finish,” Schenk mentioned.

Neither did Fleetwood, who opened with a birdie and followed with 12 straight pars. He wound up with a bogey-absolutely free 69 and realized not losing ground was one particular of the very best points he had going on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.

Spieth, nonetheless, is who dictated the action.

He had a 69 and had to determine when it was more than regardless of whether that was a very good score on account of all the errors he produced or a wasted likelihood to separate himself from the field. Spieth opened with a six-iron to 7 feet for eagle. He led by as quite a few as two shots.

But he produced only 3 pars more than his final 12 holes — on 4 of these 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 very best stuff in the strategy game, but general I’m in a very good spot for tomorrow,” Spieth mentioned.

Schenk was at eight-beneath 205 and will play in the final group with Spieth, whose game seems to be rounding into type with the Masters on the horizon.

Schenk is playing his 10th week in a row simply because his wife, Courtney, is expecting their very first youngster at the finish of April. He also is entered in the field subsequent week in the Dominican Republic, even though a victory could adjust every thing.

That feels a extended way off.

Eight players have been inside 3 shots of the lead. Webb Simpson had a 68 that incorporated a bogey on the par-five 14th when he hit into the water although attempting to lay up. He was two shots behind, along with Taylor Moore (69) and Cody Gribble (70), who had brief birdie putts on the 16th and 17th hole and narrowly missed a 20-footer in his bid to birdie all 3 holes as aspect of the “Snake Pit” on the Copperhead course.

Patton Kizzire had a 67 and posted early, not certain exactly where that would leave him. Spieth had a lot to do with that and he wound up maintaining everybody close.

“Eventful,” is how Spieth described his round.

He missed a five-foot par putt on No. 7. He hit six-iron to 12 feet for birdie on No. eight. He missed a 7-foot par putt on the 10th, and then hit a bunker shot that landed in the collar and bounced out to three feet for birdie on the par-five 11th.

Spieth followed a 3-putt bogey on the 13th with a three-wood to 35 feet for a two-putt birdie on the 14th. It was like that all through the back nine, and Spieth looked to have settled down with a ten-foot par putt on the 17th, only to send his tee shot into the trees on 18.

“I produced a couple of also quite a few errors, but general in these situations, I consider I would have signed for two beneath,” Spieth mentioned.

The climate was as wild as his round, gusting to 20 mph and shifting to an totally various path as the final groups have been on the back nine. Players have been hitting 9-iron into the par-three 17th earlier in the round, and Gribble had to hit five-iron late in the day.

Rain that was anticipated by no means arrived, even though Innisbrook was expecting showers overnight that could place a premium on scoring.

Fleetwood was the steadiest of the bunch. He produced birdie on the par-five opening hole and the par-five 14th, and was had a collection of massive par putts to retain some momentum.

“I kept plugging away,” Fleetwood mentioned. “Pars have been very good. Birdies have been challenging to come by. The middle stretch the par saves on 9 and ten have been very good putts to hole. I by no means went backward. I was really content with something par or much better.”


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