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Golf Glance: Paul Casey seeks history at Valspar Championship

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Field Level Media’s Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.

PGA TOUR
LAST TOURNAMENT: Zurich Classic of New Orleans (Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith)
THIS WEEK: Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Fla., April 29-May 2
Course: Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead Course (Par 71, 7,340 yards)
Purse: $6.9 million (Winner: $1.242M)
Defending Champion: Paul Casey
FedEx Cup leader: Bryson DeChambeau
HOW TO WATCH
TV: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (NBC)
PGA Tour Live: Thursday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (Featured Groups); Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups), 3-6 p.m. (Featured Holes)
NOTES: The event returns after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. … The 156-player field includes the top two players in the world (Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas) and 18 of the top 50. … Casey is attempting to become only the 11th player since World War II to three-peat at an event and the first to do it since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11. … Brice Garnett, Will Gordon and Sepp Straka were forced to withdraw following positive COVID-19 tests. They were replaced by J.J. Spaun, Tim Wilkinson and Nelson Ledesma. … Phil Mickelson is in the field for the first time since 2004. … Sponsors exemptions include Brooks Koepka’s brother, Chase, along with former collegiate star John Augenstein. … Attendance will be capped at approximately 20 percent due to COVID-19 restrictions. … The Larry Packard-designed Copperhead Course is typically one of the most difficult on tour and features the three-hole stretch known as the “Snake Pit,” with the 215-yard par-3 17th sandwiched by a pair of challenging par-4s. … Vijay Singh holds the tournament scoring record of 266 set in 2004.
BEST BETS: World No. 2 Justin Thomas (+1000 at DraftKings) will tee it up for the first time since the Masters. His best finish in three previous event starts was a T10 in 2015. … Johnson (+1100) was one shot off the 54-hole lead two years ago before a closing 3-over 74. … Corey Conners (+1800) led through each of the first three rounds in his only previous event start in 2018. He’s a career-high 38th in the world coming off consecutive top-10s and is excellent tee-to-green, which is imperative at Innisbrook. … Patrick Reed (+1800) is a two-time runner up at the Valspar, including in 2019, and has four top-10s in 11 starts this season. … Casey (+2200) is the two-time defending champion. He has four top-10s in 12 starts this season and won the Dubai Desert Classic in January. … Viktor Hovland (+2200), a two-time winner on tour, is in the top 15 in both the FedEx Cup (No. 7) and world rankings (No. 15). … Charl Schwartzel offers intriguing long shot odds. His last win came at the Valspar in 2016 and he’s coming off a T2 with partner Louis Oosthuizen at the Zurich Classic.
NEXT WEEK: Wells Fargo Championship, Charlotte, N.C., May 6-9

LPGA Tour
LAST TOURNAMENT: HUGEL-AIR Premia LA Open (Brooke Henderson)
THIS WEEK: HSBC Women’s World Championship, Singapore, April 29-May 2
Course: Sentosa Golf Club, New Tanjong Course (Par 72, 6,740 yards)
Purse: $1.6 million
Defending Champion: Sung Hyun Park
Race to the CME Globe leader: Nelly Korda
HOW TO WATCH
TV: Wednesday-Saturday, 10:30 p.m. – 3:30 a.m. ET (All times Golf Channel).
Livestream: Wednesday-Saturday, 10:30 p.m. – 3:30 a.m. ET (NBC Sports App and golfchannel.com)
NOTES: The tournament returns after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. … The 69-player event will not have a weekend cut line. … Three of seven winners this year will be in the field: Lydia Ko (LOTTE Championship), Inbee Park (Kia Classic), Patty Tavatanakit (ANA Inspiration). Inbee Park is a two-time event winner (2015, ’17) … Ko leads the 2021 money list with $791,944. … The average age of winners on tour this year is 25.29. … Korda (390.50) leads the Team USA Solheim Cup points standings, followed by Danielle Kang (260.50) and Jessica Korda (207.00). … Top-ranked Jin Young Ko has posted three consecutive top-10 finishes this season and has finished T6 and T3 in two previous event starts. … Lorena Ochoa holds the tournament scoring record of 20-under 268 set in 2008.
NEXT WEEK: Honda LPGA Thailand, Chonburi, Thailand, May 6-9

Champions Tour
LAST TOURNAMENT: Chubb Classic (Steve Stricker)
THIS WEEK: Insperity Invitational, The Woodlands, Texas, April 30-May 2
Course: The Woodlands CC (Par 72, 7,002 yards)
Purse: $2.25 million (Winner: $330,000)
Defending Champion: Scott McCarron
Charles Schwab Cup leader: Kevin Sutherland
TV: Friday, 12-2 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. (All times Golf Channel)
NOTES: The event returns after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. … Bernhard Langer is a four-time champion of the Insperity, including at The Woodlands in 2008, 2014 and 2018). … Jim Furyk, who won his first two Champions events, will make his 10th start on tour. … Sutherland has a pair of wins and a pair of T4s in his past four starts. He has a 67.37 scoring average during his streak of 16 consecutive rounds under par.
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Regions Traditions, Birmingham, Ala., May 6-9

–Field Level Media

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