Tiger Woods chasing rookie Corey Connors amid record crowds at Valspar

By Chris Hughes, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Saturday, March 10, 2018

A rookie making his 11th start on the PGA Tour leading halfway through the Valspar Championship would usually be the top headline going into the weekend.

But this isn’t any other weekend at the Innisbrook Resort.

Tiger Woods is playing the Valspar for the first time in his career and sits tied for second place, two shots behind Canadian rookie Corey Connors.

Innisbrook has enjoyed record crowds for the tournament so far – selling out the parking lot Friday – and the huge gallery could be treated to a historic weekend if things break right for the 14-time major winner. The course said around six-thousand more cars were on the grounds Thursday than in day 1 of the 2017 tournament.

Woods (-4) is looking for his first PGA Tour victory in five years, a gap that includes missing two years due to major back surgery in 2015.

After shooting one-under on Thursday, Woods charged to the lead Friday morning, going to five-under par at one point before carding a bogey on his final hole of the day to finish with a 68.

“To play myself into contention this early into it was nice, and on top of that, to build on what I did a week ago,'' he said, referring to the Honda Classic when he was on the fringe of contention going to the final nine holes. “I feel comfortable out there.''

Connors began his second round shortly after Woods finished for the day. He noticed the throng of supporters heading off the course while he was on the practice putting green.

“I definitely saw that,'' Conners said. "I've seen that the last few days as well. Pretty cool. Hopefully, I can be in a position where I get some followers Sunday.''

Woods tees off for his third round with Brandt Snedeker at 1:45 p.m. Saturday. It’s the second-to-last pairing, with Connors and Paul Casey anchoring the field.

If you’re going, parking passes are sold out. The course is asking that if you don’t already have a pass, use their Ride Share program. The lot is just west of Alt. 19/Palm Harbor Blvd. on Klosterman Road. A shuttle bus will take patrons to the course from that location.