“Chess Game:” PGA Tour pros describe brutal conditions at Valspar Championship


The Tampa Bay area is no stranger to inclement weather, as harsh conditions continue to impact play at this week’s Valspar Championship.

Scores during the second round have ballooned thanks to the 30-mile-per-hour winds blowing across the golf course. Rain is also expected to impact play during the afternoon wave.

“Anything under today was a heck of a round,” said Lucas Glover, who carded a 2-under 69 on Friday morning.

“Anything around par today was a heck of a round.”

The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook hosts the Valspar Championship each year, and it routinely stumps the field thanks to its difficulty. Throw in severe weather, and the Valspar Championship now resembles major championship scoring.

“It’s such a chess game today, hole by hole,” added first-round leader Kevin Streelman, who shot a 1-over 72 on Friday.

Kevin Streelman, PGA Tour, Valspar Championship

Kevin Streelman during the second round of the 2024 Valspar Championship.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

“Definitely a grinding round… On courses like this and days like this, you’re not pumping it as hard as you can down the fairway. It’s more of missing it in the right spots a lot of times. It’s all about angles. It’s about not getting yourself into certain positions that are so difficult to be in.”

Streelman carded a brilliant 7-under 64 on Thursday, a round that featured seven birdies and zero bogies. He also led the field in strokes gained approaching the green during the first round, an essential attribute of this course.

The Copperhead Course, much like TPC Sawgrass, is a ball-strikers course.

But during Friday’s blustery second round, Streelman struggled to gain momentum. As of this writing, he shares the lead at 6-under with Chandler Phillips.

“I knew it would be a very challenging day, and it’s Friday, so I’m not really too worried about leaderboards anyway; really try to wait until Sunday afternoon,” the 45-year-old Streelman added.

“You just have to take what the course can give you. It’s not giving you much right now.”

Indeed, the course has not offered any reprieve for the players.

“Windy day. Pretty hard conditions. But I tried to be patient,” added K.H. Lee, who shot a 4-under 67 to shoot up to 4-under overall.

“I tried more to play smart, more center of green, and sometimes if I had a good number, I attacked the pin.”

Patience is another key to success at this golf course, often regarded as the most underrated on the PGA Tour.

Lucas Glover, PGA Tour, Valspar Championship

Lucas Glover checks the wind during the second round of the 2024 Valspar Championship.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

“I think this place, you understand that not all the holes are really attackable, especially on a day like today where it’s, let’s get in the fairway first, and then we’ll go from there, that type of thing,” Glover added.

“I did a nice job of that today. My only bogey was because I missed the fairway, and that’s what this place can do to you.”

Many notable players struggled on Friday, with no one more so than Kevin Kisner, who signed for a 4-over 75. He opened with a 9-over 80, and will thus miss the cut.

So, too, will young Aussie Min Woo Lee, who also shot a 4-over 75 on Friday.

But Jordan Spieth, who missed the cut last week at The Players, is in danger of missing the weekend once more. He shot a 3-over 74 Friday and is currently 1-over for the championship.

Spieth is currently on the outside looking in, but that could change as the wind continues to blow across the golf course Friday. And yet, it does not appear the blustery conditions will subside anytime soon, so who knows how the second round will play out.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.





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