Schenk clings to PGA Valspar lead as Spieth, Fleetwood chase

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Unheralded Adam Schenk closed with birdies to take a one-stroke lead over Jordan Spieth and England’s Tommy Fleetwood after Saturday’s third round of the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.

At Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Florida, Schenk shot a one-under par 70 on two of the last three holes in windy conditions and stood at eight-under overall after 54 holes.

Chasing his first PGA Tour title in his 165th start, Schenk holed out to inside five feet at the last, then made the putt to take the lead.

Schenk said, “We didn’t have much until the very end. Tough day but overall very happy.” “It was tough. The wind was up, changing, it finally got colder. We just stuck to our gameplan, kept our heads down.”

Schenk, playing in his 10th consecutive week ahead of becoming a father next month, is ranked a career-best third at the 2021 Shriners Children’s Open but will be paired with three-time major winner Spieth in Sunday’s final.

“I just focus on myself,” Schenk said. “I knew the last putt was there to make the last group. Glad I made it. I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Spieth, the 2015 Valspar champion, and Fleetwood, looking for his first PGA Tour win after a 111 start, each shot 69 to share second on seven-under Webb Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, fellow Americans Cody Gribble and Taylor. With Moore on the six. – Under.

“Not my best stuff in the approach game and lag putting, but overall, I’m in good shape for tomorrow,” Spieth said.

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“Lots of good players. Tommy is in good form… I still think tonight is going to be a bit scoring than the last few days after the rain.”

Fleetwood has won six European Tour titles, his most recent coming at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa last November, but has four runner-up efforts without a win on the US circuit.

Fleetwood said, “We all dream and every time we pull it off, every week we want to win.” “I haven’t done it yet. We can start any time and start racking them up.

“Happy to be in contention again… Overall happy with where my game is going. Just try to do all the right things tomorrow and see if it’s my time.”

Fleetwood made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 first and another birdie on the par-5 14th to make it 16-par.

Fleetwood said, “Started with a nice birdie and it was like putting away.” “The birdies were hard to come by.”

– Spieth’s Roller Coaster –

Spieth endured a roller-coaster day with five birdies, five bogeys and an opening eagle.

A closing bogey cost him a share of the lead heading into the final day.

“Eventually,” Spieth said. “It’s good to shoot a couple for the number of mistakes I made.”

World No. 14 Spieth is seeking his 14th PGA Tour title and his first since last April’s heritage event.

Spieth holed his second 6-iron from eight feet down the opening hole and immediately sank an eagle putt to regain the lead.

“Great way to start, especially on a day when you know you’re going to get a lot of wind,” Spieth said.

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“The par-5s were great. That’s what you need to do in conditions like this on this golf course.”

He made a birdie at the par-5 fifth, then scored four bogey-birdies between the seventh and 16th holes.

“I tried to be a little aggressive with the putter,” Spieth said.