Ryan Brehm knocked in a hole-in-one at the par-3 17th hole to card a 5-under 66 and join Adam Schenk and Germany’s Stephan Jaeger in the lead after one round of the Valspar Championship on Thursday in Palm Harbor, Fla.
The trio holds a one-shot edge over Jordan Spieth, Lucas Glover and Maverick McNealy, who are tied at 4-under 67.
Brehm, ranked No. 385 in the world, was 3 under with four birdies and a bogey through 16 holes at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course. With 196 yards from the tee to the pin, Brehm hit a 7-iron and his ball bounced tidily on the green, took a second hop and rolled straight in the cup.
It was the first ace of his PGA Tour career. Brehm’s wife was on his bag Thursday and got to take part in the celebration.
“My wife and I talk about it all the time. I’m glad she was there because she’s like, ‘I’ve never seen you have one,'” Brehm joked.
Brehm won the 2022 Puerto Rico Open for his only PGA Tour title. He has made just three of 17 cuts this season, and his 65 was his second-lowest round of the year. This marks his first 18-hole lead on tour.
“It was a lot of fun,” Brehm said of the ace. “I was really just trying to cover the front edge of the green, and we had the wind that was down off of the right. I think we had 189 to cover the front edge and it probably flew almost 200 yards. So it was pretty fun to see that thing trickle in.”
Jaeger, the World No. 135, has six Korn Ferry Tour wins but none so far on the PGA Tour.
He had a birdie and two bogeys through seven holes before finding a way to roll in six more birdies from there, including at the par-3 eighth and 13th holes. He stuck his tee shot at No. 8 inside 6 feet of the pin and his tee ball at No. 13 to 2 feet.
“These greens are pretty small, so if you’ve hit ‘em in the right spots, you’ve got a lot of short putts in,” Jaeger said. “Just kind of made the right putts and scored on the par-5s, which was nice.”
Schenk, ranked 143rd in the world, is also seeking his first win on the PGA Tour. He had six birdies and just one bogey Thursday.
“Not a lot could have gone that much better,” Schenk said. “So it’s one those rounds that could have been 1-, 2-under par that ended up 5-under par. You take the days like this and run with them.”
Spieth won the Valspar in 2015 and is back on the premises hunting for his first title anywhere since April 2022.
He had a bogey-free day and made three straight birdies at Nos. 14-16 as he played the back nine before the front. The highlight was a 57-foot birdie putt at the par-3 15th.
“I was able to sneak a couple extras with the putter today,” Spieth said. “I’ve been feeling like my putting’s been working towards where I really want it to be. … Bogey-free around this track is not something you’re going to do every day.”
Tied for seventh at 3-under 68 were England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Byeong Hun An of South Korea, Alex Smalley, Patton Kizzire and Kramer Hickok.
Sam Burns, the two-time defending champion, and Canada’s Adam Hadwin, who won the 2017 Valspar, were part of a large group tied at 2-under 69.
–Field Level Media