Brehm fires ace, shares lead

MIAMI (AFP) — Ryan Brehm, with missed cuts in 14 of 17 starts this season, aced the par-3 17th hole to share the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the PGA Valspar Championship.

The 36-year-old American, whose only PGA title came last March at the Puerto Rico Open, matched countryman Adam Schenk and Germany’s Stephan Jaeger on a five-under par 66 at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“We’ve been grinding for a little while since then to try and find some good form again,” Brehm said. “It has been showing signs of good play, so we’re just going to keep doing it.”

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Valpsar winner, shared fourth after a bogey-free 67 with fellow Americans Maverick McNealy and 2009 US Open winner Lucas Glover.

Brehm aced the 196-yard, par-3 17th hole with a 7-iron. It was his first PGA hole-in-one and the first PGA ace at the hole since Kris Blanks in the 2012 final round.

“It kind of surprised me when I saw it go in the hole,” Brehm said. “But we got a good reaction. It was a lot of fun.

“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. 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.”

Brehm birdied all four par-5 holes and made his lone bogey at the par-4 sixth.

“We took care of the par-5s and that was nice,” Brehm said. “Had a few up-and-downs and never hit one out of play. That’s a recipe to just hang in there.”

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