Casey, Cook share Valspar Championship lead

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Casey holds slender lead at Valspar Championship

"First time being here in a while, not really used to the golf course". And it's been a while since I had a really good round like that, and it does feel good.

Joel Dahmen and rookie Stepp Straka of Austria have never won on the PGA Tour, but you wouldn't have known that from watching them in the first round of the Valspar Championship.

Paul Casey plays his shot from the 15th tee during the second round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament at Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead Course.

Casey, who edged Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed by a stroke past year for the crown, began Friday on the back nine and promptly birdied three of his first four holes, sinking a 10-foot putt at 10 and landing his third shot inches from the cup before a tap-in at the par-5 11th.

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Johnson, Watson and Jim Furyk are tied for 11th and still well within striking distance after opening with a two-under 69. He is in the hunt for his second PGA Tour win.

Casey's 5-under-par 66 was tied for the low score for the second round and featured four birdies, an eagle (on the par-5 fifth hole) and just one bogey on the course that ends with the famed "Snake Pit", a three-hole, closing stretch that's among the hardest on the circuit. His final roll of the dice will come in next week's WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

American Dahmen already had a top 10 finish this season when he tied for ninth at the Farmers two months ago.

Casey, who came second in February at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for his best finish of the 2018-19 season, is a two-time PGA Tour victor and has captured 13 events on the European Tour and two on the Asian Tour.

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Level-par for the day to the turn, the Invernesian birdied the par-5 11th - the hole where he made the first albatross in the event's history with a 3-wood from 275 yards on Thursday - before coming close to making an ace at the 170-yard 13th.

"It's a good way to go from plus 2 to minus 1 very quickly", Knox said. Playing on a sponsor exemption, he was at 3 under for the day and even par for the tournament through eight holes until a muffed chip and a missed putt led to double bogey at No. 9 that killed his momentum.

Defending champion Paul Casey opened with a 70, while Jon Rahm made his tournament debut with an even-par 71.

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