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Bradley gains share of lead

Pro golf

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Sam Burns kept piling up birdies Friday, turning a solid start into a great round of 8-under 63 for a share of the lead in the Valspar Championship.

Keegan Bradley got there with one shot.

Bradley ended his round by holing out for eagle from 100 yards in the ninth fairway, over a deep bunker to the elevated green. The shot left him guessing until he saw the fans jump out of their seats. That gave him a 66 and the best uphill walk at Innisbrook.

“I turned a good day into a great day,” Bradley said. “Man, it was a fun day. And what a way to finish. It was a blast.”

Bradley and Burns were at 12-under 130, and their play in the steamy afternoon on the Copperhead course gave them a little separation starting out the weekend.

Lucas Glover (65), Charley Hoffman (66) and Max Homa (68) were four shots back. Only 10 players were within five shots of the lead through 36 holes.

Bradley, whose longest par putt was 4 feet in his bogey-free opening round, opened with two quick birdies before coming up short of the green on the 12th hole and making his first bogey. Birdies were hard to come by the rest of the way, but he made up for it with one swing.

With the steep hill, he played the 100-yard shot as if it were 119, and then he added 6 yards to account for a little wind. It was a gap wedge. “A perfect shot,” he said.

“You can’t see the green from down there, so you have to wait for the crowd’s reaction,” he said. “And when everyone puts their arms up, normally that means it goes in. So another bonus of having fans out here. It makes it a lot more exciting for everybody.”

Maybe not for Phil Mickelson. The five-time major champion said he is struggling to keep his focus, or to regain his focus after distractions in the gallery, such as a phone ringing. He bogeyed two of his last three holes for a 69 to miss the cut by one shot.

“My physical ability to refocus, to back away and then refocus and so forth, I’m physically not able to do it right now,” the 50-year-old Mickelson said.

Elsewhere:

n Nicolai von Dellingshausen of Germany took a three-shot lead of the Tenerife Open after matching a career-best 62 through the second round on Friday. Von Dellingshausen carded a 9-under round at the Golf Costa Adeje course on the Canary Islands. He made seven birdies to go with one bogey before eagling the par-5 18th hole by making a 20-foot putt from the fringe.

n Hee Young Park birdied her final hole Friday to move into a second-round tie for the lead with Inbee Park at the LGPA Tour’s HSBC Women’s World Championship on a steamy Tanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club. Hee Young Park, who shot 68, and world No. 2-ranked Inbee Park (69) had two-round totals of 11-under 133.

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