Robert Garrigus and his caddie assess a shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida on Friday. - AFP
PALM HARBOR (US) AFP: Robert Garrigus, an American seeking his second US PGA Tour title, fired a five-under par 66 to seize a three-stroke lead after Friday's second round of the $5.7 million Valspar Championship.
Garrigus stood on seven-under 135 after 36 holes on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook with compatriot Kevin Na second on 138 after a second-round 68.
Americans Pat Perez and Matt Every, who were among four players to share the 18-hole lead, fired par 71s to share third on 139 with reigning US Open champion Justin Rose and Italy's Matteo Manassero.
Australian Greg Chalmers, who also opened on 68, shot a 72 to share seventh on 140 alongside 2010 winner Jim Furyk, John Merrick, Scott Langley and Luke Guthrie.
South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee, who shared the 18-hole lead, fired a 79 and missed the cut.
Garrigus, who lost a playoff two years ago at Innisbrook, opened with a 10-foot par putt, sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the par-5 fifth and a 17-foot birdie putt to close the front nine.
Garrigus, who won at Disney World in 2010, opened the back nine with a bogey but followed with a birdie at 11 and another at the par-5 14th, then added a 27-foot birdie putt at the 15th before closing with three consecutive pars.
"Very solid putting the first two days," Garrigus said. "I hit it a little better yesterday in the wind. I hate to say it's a better round, it was 2-under to 5-under, but it was definitely a better ball-striking round.
"Today I had some great up and downs, made a lot of good putts and you have to do that on a golf course like this as difficult as it is."
Na, who began off the 10th tee, birdied 14 and the first then chipped in for birdie at the ninth.
"I played very solidly," Na said. "I drove it well off the tee and my misses were playable. I made a lot of good par putts."
Na seeks his second US PGA title after capturing the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.