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2019 Valspar Championship First Round Recap and Highlights

The opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship is in the books. Two unlikely competitors are atop the leaderboard following a pair of Thursday rounds of 66. Meanwhile world golf leaders remain in the hunt while major contenders find themselves far outside the cutline.

An unlikely duo leading the way

As the field of 144 readied themselves to take on the Copperhead course in Innisbrook few projected Joel Dahmen and Sepp Straka to be sitting on top of the leaderboard after the first 18 holes. Since turning professional in 2010 Dahmen found success twice during his 2014 stint on the PGA Tour Canada. Since then the Washington Huskies alumni has kept himself in play on the PGA Tour with a number of close calls and strong play on the Tour.

Joining Dahmen at a tournament leading 5-under par is Austria’s Sepp Straka. The Vienna native last claimed victory in 2018 on the Tour with a one stroke victory at the KC Golf Classic. Thursday at the Valspar Championship Straka turned in a bogey-free round to build momentum early.

Both men have had recent success notably finishing top ten at the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open this past January. With the weather looking to improve over the weekend Dahmen and Straka will look to continue their wave of momentum and cash in on their first PGA Tour victories.

DJ won’t go away

The reigning top golfer in the world Dustin Johnson is coming off a top five finish at THE PLAYERS Championship. Johnson has had a career year thus far as he picked up his 20th career victory in February at the WGC-Mexico Championship. Along with his win he already has five top-10 finishes this season.

Building on his sensational start DJ brought his high level play to Innisbrook this week with the road to the Masters in full effect. His foray into the 2019 Valspar Championship for the world number one began with a birdie at the par-5 1st hole. Johnson added a bogey and two more birdies on his opening nine to take the turn at 2-under.

A birdie and bogey on the back nine canceled one another out to end his first 18 with a 68 and three shots off the lead. A victory in itself Thursday was Johnson’s ability to navigate the treacherous “Snake Pit” closing holes at even par. If Johnson can continue to avoid the venomous stings of the Copperhead course the 2016 Player of the Year could be claiming Tour victory number 21 come Sunday.

Top highlights from around Copperhead Thursday

Currently sitting in a tie for 80th Morgan Hoffman may not have had the best opening round but he did turn in one of the top highlights of the day when he chipped in for birdie from the greenside bunker at the par-4 9th.

Sitting inside the top 30 for the tournament Brandt Snedeker made a little magic of his own as he turned his wedge into a putter to chip in from off the green.

The 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed currently sits T135 at 6-over after round one. While Reed may not have had a great day on the course, it wasn’t without a highlight early on. Reed covered over 38 feet of green quickly to drill home a long birdie putt to get to 1-over at the time.

The unanimous shot of the day belong to two-time PGA Tour winner Russell Knox. With his second shot at the par-5 11th Knox took aim from 275-yards out and 3-wood in hand to record the first ever albatross at the Valspar Championship. Thanks in part to going low at 11 he now finds himself just one shot off the lead heading into Friday.

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