PGA Tour

Spieth battling to make Valspar cut

Jordan Spieth (AFP)
Jordan Spieth (AFP)

Miami - World number one Jordan Spieth was left staring down the barrel of his second missed cut of 2016 on Thursday after firing a five-over-par 76 in the opening round of the Valspar Championship.

The defending champion, who had missed the cut at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles last month, suffered a torrid round on the Innisbrook Resort's challenging Copperhead layout to finish the day way off the pace.

Spieth, who struggled to get to grips with the blustery conditions, carded six bogeys and one birdie and will need to produce something miraculous on Friday if he is to extend his participation into the weekend.

"It was a very tough day. I just didn't hit enough greens," said Spieth, who never recovered after a disastrous start which included five bogeys and one birdie in his first seven holes to put him four over at the turn.

"I got off to a poor start and I was behind the eight-ball with gusty wind on a tough golf course," the 22-year-old Texan said.

Spieth was also dismayed with his putting performance on greens that played very slowly.

"It's so tough on some of these putts down the hill to hit them as hard as we have to hit them," Spieth said.

"It's one thing to practice on the greens and get used to it, it's another to actually do it."

Spieth was left nine shots adrift of early pace-setters Keegan Bradley and Ken Duke, who carded four-under-par 67s to grab a share of the lead as the first round continued.

Bradley shot five birdies and one bogey, a haul which included a superb 25-foot birdie putt at the par-three fourth.

Unlike Spieth, Bradley was happy with the condition of the greens.

"I think this is a great speed for these greens," he said, admitting however that the wind had caused him problems.

"It seems to be very up and down ... it's a tough round. The course is so good because if you hit good shots it really rewards you," he said.

The highest non-American players on the leader board early on Thursday included England's Danny Willett, Sweden's Jonas Blixt, South Africa's Retief Goosen, Germany's Martin Kaymer and New Zealand's Danny Lee, who all shot 70s.

Leading first round scores in the US PGA Tour Valspar Championship on Thursday (USA unless stated, par 71):

67 - Keegan Bradley, Ken Duke, Charles Howell III

68 - Chesson Hadley

69 - Charley Hoffman, Greg Yates, Chez Reavie

70 - Daniel Berger, Jamie Lovemark, Matt Every, Brian Harman, Danny Willett (ENG), Jerry Kelly, Brandon Hagy, Scott Brown, Jonas Blixt (SWE), Ryan Moore, Retief Goosen (RSA), Webb Simpson, Martin Kaymer (GER), Danny Lee (NZL), Will Mackenzie, Cameron Smith (AUS), Tyler Aldridge

71 - David Hearn (CAN), Troy Merritt, Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Brendon Todd, Ryan Palmer, Patrick Reed, Bill Haas, Henrik Stenson (SWE), Chad Campbell, Daniel Summerhays, Kyle Reifers, John Huh, Mark Hubbard, Brett Stegmaier, Noh Seung-Yul (KOR), Matt Kuchar, Blayne Barber, Patton Kizzire, Francesco Molinari (ITA), Hiroshi Iwata (JPN)

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