Four-way tie in Florida

US Tour

There is a four-way tie at the top of the leader-board after the first round at the Valspar Championships in Florida.

American’s Matt Every and Pat Perez, as well as Australia’s Greg Chalmers and Danny Lee of New Zealand all carded three under par 68’s in the tough conditions at the Innisbrook course.

It was especially cold for the morning tee-off times, with a burly wind making it around 9 degrees outside.

“I would have been satisfied with 2 over today,” said Every, the only leader to tee-off in the morning.

“It was tough. This morning you couldn’t feel your hands. The wind was brutal.”

Every’s round was aided with a trio of birdies on his last four holes to put him amongst the leaders on a day where only 25 players managed to break par. While he is happy to have a share of the lead, Every admits the first round doesn’t count for much.

“I’ve played enough to know the first round doesn’t matter that much. This place is just going to be about not making doubles and taking yourself out of the tournament.”

Lee was in the last group at Innisbrook and the US Amateur champion was the only player to reach four under after his birdie on the par five first.

Unfortunately, he dropped a shot on the sixth. Lee missed every cut this year, but broke the duck last week at the Puerto Rico Open.

“I gained a lot of confidence after last week playing with the finish in Puerto Rico,” said the New Zealander.

“It really helped me a lot with that confidence stuff, and I’m hitting it really well right now. My ball striking is the best it’s ever been, especially with the putting. I got the new claw grip – still working great, which is fantastic.”

Meanwhile, back on two under is a group of seven golfers, while world number seven Justin Rose, the highest ranked golfer at Innisbrook, carded one-under 70, along with American sensation Jordan Speith and England’s Luke Donald.

“This course isn’t easy in good conditions,” said Donald, who won the event in 2012.

“The wind was really affecting some of the shots pretty hard. It was a good battle out there today.”

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