Garrigus hopes to land a big one at Innisbrook

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 15, 2014 at 2:36 am •  Published: March 15, 2014

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Robert Garrigus talks about the skill involved in the trade, and it's certainly more than just taking it back and letting it fly. The location changes everything, for not every place is the same. Some moments involve power, others require a delicate touch.

None of this had anything to do with the 5-under 66 he shot Friday to take a three-shot lead in the Valspar Championship.

Garrigus was talking about fishing.

Somehow, the two are related this week. Garrigus puts as much thought into his fishing as he does his golf. He brought his irons and putter in a large travel bag, and he put his fishing gear (two tackle boxes) in a separate suitcase.

Perhaps more amazing is that he never played a practice round on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook until he teed it up Thursday. He was too busy fishing. Garrigus arrived Monday and fished into the twilight. He fished most of Tuesday and for about five hours Wednesday.

The tally for the week: about three dozen large-mouth bass — and 10 birdies.

It's the latter that put him atop the leaderboard by three shots over Kevin Na (68) going into the weekend. Garrigus thinks it's more than a coincidence that his only other PGA Tour event was just over an hour away at Disney. All he did was fish that week, too, and he wound up a winner.

"It's the fishing," he said. "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 going into a weekend with a Masters spot potentially up for grabs.

Only five of the top 22 on the leaderboard already are eligible for the Masters.

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

The three-shot lead is the largest through 36 holes in the 14-year history of this tournament.

The cut was at 3-over 145 and because 84 players advanced to Saturday, there will be a 54-hole cut to top 70 and ties on Saturday.

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