Palm Harbor, Fla. • Matt Every made the best of the worst conditions Thursday at Innisbrook. Danny Lee, finally, seems to be playing good golf in any weather.
They were among a four-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the Valspar Championship, a day so challenging that 3-under 68 was the highest score to lead after the first round in the 14-year history of this event.
Pat Perez and Greg Chalmers also had 68s to share the lead.
Every was the only one among the leaders to play in the morning, when the temperatures were in the mid-50s and felt even colder because of a strong wind. He had three birdies on his last four holes, all of them about 15 feet or longer, and was five shots better than he would have hoped when he teed off.
“I would have been satisfied with 2 over today,” Every said. “It was tough. This morning you couldn’t feel your hands. The wind was brutal.”
The temperature warmed under full sunshine in the afternoon, though that only helped a little. Only three players broke 70 in the morning, with the average score nearly 3½ shots over par. Eight players broke 70 in the afternoon, and the average for the day turned out to be 72.6.
Lee was in the last group, and how he got to Tampa Bay explains why he was one of the leaders.
The former U.S. Amateur champion had missed every cut this year, and six straight dating to the OHL Classic in Mexico last November. That changed last week in the Puerto Rico Open, when he posted all four rounds in the 60s to finish second to Chesson Hadley.
Matt Every -3
Pat Perez -3
Greg Chalmers -3
Danny Lee -3
Daniel Summerhays -3