Valspar Championship 2016: Five to follow in the First Round Leader betting
Dan Geraghty picks out five golfers to follow during round one in Florida...
"He was among the first round leader places last year on his debut and with that experience in the bank, I fancy Justin Thomas to repeat the trick this week."
10 under par is as good as anyone has managed to do in the last three years at the Valspar Championship, tree-lined Copperhead is a tough test, and last year the majority of the field failed to break 70 on day one; the Thursday night leaderboard looked like this:
Davis, 65 (afternoon)
O'Hair, 66 (morning)
Barnes, 66 (afternoon)
Stenson, 67 (morning)
Ernst, 67 (morning)
Thomas, 67 (morning)
Cejka, 67 (afternoon)
De Jonge, 67 (afternoon)
N. Thompson, 67 (afternoon)
As you can see, the leaderboard had a good mix of both morning and afternoon starters. This year I expect a similar result, the morning starters will have the best of the greens but the weather will be hotter in the afternoon and wind is due to die down from 4pm from a high of 23km/h. So our job of finding winners becomes that much harder; whatever tee time your fancy has, don't be put off.
Harris English won the Southern Amateur here in 2011 and has two top 10s from four visits during his PGA Tour career; American, English was 10th last week at the Cadillac and looks to be coming into form at the right time. Blayne Barber was fifth in that 2011 Southern Amateur and the American cashed his biggest cheque to date at the Honda Classic two weeks ago. Barber has struggled at times during his brief PGA Tour career to date, but I'm a big fan of his game and would love to see him go well again this week.
He was among the first round leader places last year on his debut and with that experience in the bank, I fancy Justin Thomas to repeat the trick this week; since his fine performance at the 2015 Valspar, Thomas has become a PGA Tour winner and has climbed to 31st in the world rankings.
Two weeks ago Patrick Rodgers headlined this column and finished DFL at the Honda Classic, amassing a total of 17 over, however, I'm undeterred and happy to go back in at a triple figure price on what seems to be a ball-strikers course.
I always keep a keen eye on Monday qualifying and this week one of my favourite youngsters came through with flying colours, finishing tied second with a fine 65 (seven under). Big hitters have a fine record in this event and I'm licking my lips at the prospect of backing Brandon Hagy at an enormous price, the huge hitting American can go really low.
*1 point E/W on each
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2016 First Round Leader P&L: