Three share Valspar first-round lead

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[March 11, 2016]    Charles Howell III, Keegan Bradley and Ken Duke each shot a 4-under-par 67 to claim a share of the first-round lead on Thursday at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

It was quite a different day for top-ranked Jordan Spieth, who struggled to a 76 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook after starting with five bogeys on his first seven holes and never recovering.

The defending champion is in danger of missing the cut for the second time in his past four PGA Tour tournaments.

"It was a very tough day," Spieth said. "I just caught the wrong gusts. You kind of get a 50-50 chance on a day like today on those into-the-wind shots."

The course was difficult to negotiate for the rest of the field as well. Three players finished in the 80s, and only seven broke 70.

Bradley moved to 5 under after a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 4, his 13th hole of the day, before his only bogey of the round at No. 6. At one point, he led the field by three strokes.

Howell and Duke managed to avoid a bogey. Each had four birdies.

"The golf course is so tricky with the wind, and we tried to keep the ball in front of us," Duke said. "That's what we have to do around here."

Trailing the leaders by one shot was Chesson Hadley after a 68. At 2-under 69 were Chez Reavie, Charley Hoffman and Greg Yates, who secured a place in the field by winning the Valspar Collegiate last year. They were the only other players to break 70.

Danny Willett of England was among a group at 70. Steve Stricker and Sweden's Henrik Stenson shot par 71.

Stricker was leading in the morning before he fell back with three consecutive bogeys.


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