Sam Burns starts title defence, shares lead with four at Copperhead

By Sports Desk March 17, 2022

Defending champion Sam Burns is one of four players to score a seven-under-par 64, after the first round of play at the Valspar Championship on Thursday.

The world number eight had a busy round on the opening day, with nine birdies and two bogeys. He recovered well after bogey the par-four 16th and reeled off birdies on the final two holes to close out his opening 18 holes.

Following a chaotic weekend at The Players Championship, the Florida weather had a positive effect on the Copperhead course, with Burns reaping the benefits from facilitative greens.

"The greens are really receptive with the rain we’ve gotten last week," he told reporters following his round.

"Yeah, I think the golf course will continue to firm up after we get some sun and wind and I think it’s going to play really well the next few days."

Burns, David Lipsky, Adam Hadwin and Jhonattan Vegas share the lead at Copperhead after the first day of play.

Scott Stallings, Richy Werenski, Davis Riley and Danny Lee are one back at six under, while Justin Thomas, Kramer Hickok and Doc Redman are a further two strokes back.

After missing the cut at TPC Sawgrass, Jason Day opened with a one-under-70, only two weeks after the passing of mother.

Notable names in group at four under include Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Louis Oosthuizen.

Out of the co-leaders, though, Lipsky was the only one to go bogey-free, opening with a birdie on the par-five first to set the tone on a confident front nine. He closed out the round with four consecutive pars.

The 33-year-old has never won on the PGA Tour and has not won an event since his time on the European Tour in 2018.

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