Haas, at 45-1, leads Valspar Championship through 54 holes

ValsparChampionshipFinal Round Preview – PGA Tour – Valspar Championship– Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Champions Course – Palm Harbor, Florida –

The difficult conditions at Copperheard continues to bring drama to the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.

After a half dozen players toyed with the lead Saturday, former FedEx Cup Champion Bill Haas emerged as the frontrunner carding a 4-under-67 on Moving Day to control the overnight, 54-hole lead.

Canada’s Graham DeLaet is alone in second at 7-under. He has stayed near the top of

Bill Haas current official PGA TOUR headshot (Photo by: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Bill Haas

Bill Haas current official PGA TOUR headshot
(Photo by: Chris Condon/PGA TOUR) *** Local Caption *** Bill Haas

the leader board this week with Strokes Gained Tee to Green. The Canadian sporting a Duck Dynasty beard will have to contend with the pressure of the final pairing along with a quest for his first victory.

Haas tees off alongside DeLaet at 1:50p.m. local time in the final pairing Sunday.  Saturday’s final pairing — Steve Stricker and Will MacKenzie — are both still in the mix but slipped back. Last year’s 54-hole leader Ryan Moore ended up two shots out of the eventual playoff.

The Snake Pit — combined with windy conditions and slow greens – has many players still with a shot to win with one low round and some help from the lead groups especially former UNLV players Charley Hoffman and Moore.

Both multi-time PGA Tour winners Hoffman and Moore are T-3 at 5-under in the second-to-last group. Look for someone at T-5 and 4-under to contend Sunday. That group features Stricker, World No. 10 Patrick Reed (who lost to Jordan Spieth here in a playoff last year) and Charles Howell III.

Speaking of the defending champion, Jordan Spieth rallied with rounds of 68-67 after greenside picopening with 76. He is now 2-under and T-9 with a host of players including Justin Thomas and Henrik Stenson.

Ranked 43rd in the world rankings, Haas is more than a year removed from his last victory in January 2015 at the CareerBuilder Challenge at PGA West. He is clearly the favorite positioned atop the field. He opened with the week as a 45-to-1 long shot bet at Silverton Casino in Las Vegas.

The story of Haas should reveal early in the round. If he gets off to a good start, he would be difficult to beat. But, Haas can sometimes come out flat and shoot 74.

For other payouts, DeLaet and Hoffman both opened 75-1 while Moore was listed at 40-1.

Other Golf news:

  • Aussie Scott Hend (18-under) captured the True Thailand Classic in a co-eurotourlogosanctioned event by the European Tour and Asian Tour. Thomas Pieters, who won twice on the European Tour last summer, was third while Peter Uihlein ended up fourth.
  • Stricker isn’t the only player making a run in this flashback week at Copperhead. Retief Goosen and Jason Gore are also in the mix sitting T-9 at 2-under heading into the final round.
  • Aussie Matthew Griffin won the Australasian Tour’s BMW ISPS Handa New Zealand Open by a single stroke at 20-under.
  • The LPGA Tour returns to action next week in Phoenix at the Founders Cup.