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After successful fishing trip, Garrigus surges to 3-shot lead at Innisbrook

PALM HARBOR, Florida--Robert Garrigus can't recall a better performance going into the weekend. And his golf has been pretty good, too.

Garrigus spent most of the practice days fishing in the lakes of Innisbrook, catching nearly three dozen bass. As for his day job, he bagged 10 birdies over two days and delivered the best score of the tournament, a 5-under 66 on Friday, to build a three-shot lead in the Valspar Championship.

“It's the fishing,” he said.

Garrigus arrived at Innisbrook on Monday and fished that evening, most of Tuesday and then for about five hours Wednesday, without ever looking at the Copperhead course.

“I think that puts me in a good frame of mind because I'm clear and not thinking about anything, just going out and having some fun,” he said.

Garrigus, one of the longest hitters in golf, has made birdie on all of the par 5s this week and is at 7-under 135, three shots clear of Kevin Na going into a weekend with a Masters spot potentially up for grabs.

Only five of the top 22 on the leaderboard are already eligible for the Masters.

Na had a 68, while the group four shots behind included Pat Perez (71), Matteo Manassero (70) and Justin Rose (68), who is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7. Matt Every shot a 71 in the afternoon and joined them at 3-under 139.

The three-shot lead is the largest through 36 holes in the 14-year history of this tournament.

Garrigus is about the only player who has made it look easy, even though he felt as stressed as anyone on the Copperhead course, regarded by many as perhaps the best tournament course in Florida.

Even though the weather was close to perfect — only a breeze in warm sunshine — only 17 players broke 70.

John Daly was not among them. He was struggling with what he called the yips with his putter when he got to the 16th hole. Daly put three shots in the water, shanked a 7-iron, duffed a chip into the bunker and made a 12. With a double bogey on the last hole, he shot a 90, the highest score of his PGA Tour career.

For all his birdies, Garrigus was especially satisfied with one par.

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