3-way tie for lead on tough Copperhead course

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm •  Published: March 14, 2014
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PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Justin Rose had another great finish, chipping in from 40 feet on his last hole for a 3-under 68 that gave him a share of the lead among the early starters Friday in the Valspar Championship.

Even without as much wind, the Copperhead course at Innisbrook showed plenty of bite. Just ask John Daly. He took a 12 on the 16th hole, and then missed a 4-foot putt on his last hole for a 90, the highest score of his 24 years on the PGA Tour.

Rose had the lowest score of the morning group — no one has yet to post better than 68 so far — and finished at 3-under 139 to share the lead with Pat Perez (71) and Matteo Manassero of Italy, who had a 70.

Rose feels as if his shoulder injury is in the past, except for answering questions about it. He loves the Florida swing because the courses demand so many different shots, and Innisbrook might require the most.

The U.S. Open champion was struggling in the first round until he finished birdie-birdie to salvage a 71. He carried that momentum into the second round, and despite a bogey on No. 6 from being out of position off the tee, and a soft bogey on the par-3 eighth, he felt much better ending with a birdie.

"I got some momentum going today," Rose said. "I worked my way into the tournament early. To finish strong with my round yesterday I think helped give me some momentum into day. ... It's exactly how I needed to flow into the tournament."

Perez was the first player to reach 5 under for the tournament until he missed two drives well to the left. One was in the trees at No. 6, the other went out of bounds on No. 7. Both led to double bogeys, though Perez didn't get down on himself.

"Just move on and keep going," he said.

He picked up two more birdies for his 71 and was right where he wanted to be. Perez already is coming off a strong West Coast swing, with nearly $1 million in earnings, and three weeks off didn't hurt his swing too much.