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Alternate Conners of Canada Leads Valspar Championship by 2 Heading into Weekend

Corey Conners of Ontario, Canada currently holds a 2 shot lead over an elite chase pack that includes Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Justin Rose. After not qualifying on Monday, he received a call from the PGA saying he had gotten in after Kyle Stanley withdrew. On Thursday, he carded a 4-under 67, and followed it up with a 69 this afternoon to maintain his lead. Conners has missed 9 of 10 cuts this season, and is currently ranked 608th according to the Official World Golf Rankings. Yet, the 133rd ranked FedEx Cup player has looked elite thus far- he has just one bogey and one double in 2 days (accompanied by 9 birdies), and is top 5 this week in scrambling, putts per GIR, SG T-G and birdies. Conners will be in the final pairing with Paul Casey on Saturday, teeing off at 1:55pm.

The main story this week though has certainly been the stellar play of Tiger Woods. Bringing huge crowds throughout the week, Tiger appears to have his rhythm back. His short game has looked great thus far despite not hitting many GIR (20/36). “I’m hitting the shots. I don’t have a problem posting scores — just trying to figure out how to play golf again,” Tiger said after his Friday morning round, in which he teed off before 8am in sub-45 degree weather. On Thursday he tested his back multiple times, including hitting a hook shot along a left-side tree and then later slipping in the rough while hitting a shot on an upslope. He’ll play in the second to last group with Brandt Snedeker at 1:45pm.

The Valspar Championship has a great field this week that will look to chase down Conners. Along with Woods, Snedeker and Casey (T2 at -4), other golfers in the mix are Justin Rose and Webb Simpson (T7 at -3), Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed (T12 at -2) and 2017 champion Adam Hadwin (T20 at -1). From the outside Sergio Garcia (E), Adam Scott (+1), Matt Kuchar (+1) and Charl Schwartzel (+1) will look to make strides as well.

Coverage starts at 1pm on the Golf Channel and will run till 3pm. NBC will take over at 3 and go till 6pm. You can also listen live on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio starting at 1pm. First pairings will go out at 7:35am EST.

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