Branden Grace started slowly on Thursday in the opening round of the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship as he carded a two-under-par 69, which put him in a share of 28th.
He went through his opening nine in level-par without dropping or picking up a shot, but he made his first bogey on the 10th. But he picked up birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th to finish well. He was five shots off the lead of Keegan Bradley. Bradley had a two-stroke lead over Argentine Emiliano Grillo, and Americans Ryan Moore, Hand Lebioda, Max Homa and Patton Kizzire.
Charl Schwartzel, the 2016 champion of the tournament, opened up with a one-under 70, while his partner in last week’s play-off defeat in the Zurich Classic, Louis Oosthuizen, battled his way to a two-over 73. Erik van Rooyen was three over after the first round, down in a share of 129th.
Elsewhere, on the Korn Ferry Tour, Dawie van der Walt opened with a one-over 71 in the Huntsville Championship, with Tyrone van Aswegen carding three-over 73. The lead was held by China’s Carl Yuan and America’s Nick Hardy at six-under.