2024 Valspar Championship leaderboard, scores: Stewart Cink tied for Round 2 lead; Justin Thomas one off pace

stewart cink 2024 valspar

An unlikely co-leader rose to the top of the board at a Valspar Championship complete with Jordan Spieth adventures (more on that below), Justin Thomas ups and downs, and one of the more surprising missed cuts on the PGA Tour so far this season.

After 36 holes, 50-year-old Stewart Cink co-leads the event a 6 under after shooting a 4-under 67. He leads the field in approach play after two days and is looking for his first win on the PGA Tour since the 2021 RBC Heritage.

He’ll have a few problems in the form a five-way tie at the top, as well as a bevy of younger horses just behind him, but a 50-year-old Cink winning the week after the Players Championship would be one of the more shocking (and compelling) golf stories of 2024 to date. 

Let’s dive in on Friday’s second round and what to expect over the next few days. 

The leaders

T1. Stewart Cink, Kevin Streelman, Chandler Phillips, Brendon Todd, Mackenzie Hughes (-6)

What a crew this is. Cink was actually 7 under with seven holes left in his day and looked like he might run it to 8 under or better, but he played the last seven in 1 over, including a bogey at the last that kept him from taking the outright lead. Still, this is a stunner. 

Cink has two top 10s in his last four starts … but both of them were on PGA Tour Champions. He only has one top 10 on the PGA Tour — a T7 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship — since the start of the 2022-23 season. In a season of strange longshots winning PGA Tour tournaments, Cink might honestly be the strangest long shot that could do it.

His approach play has been exceptional, though. Even though driver has been shaky (mostly because he’s 133rd in the field in distance off the tee), he’s crushing greens and is gaining nearly 3.0 strokes per round on approach shots alone. If that continues, we might actually get a 50-year-old champion this week at the Valspar.

“It feels great,” said Cink. “Being in contention feels the same way no matter where you are, to be honest. Obviously, the field is a little different here at Valspar than it was the last time I teed it up at Cologuard in Tucson on the PGA Tour Champions. But it still feels the same, and I didn’t have a very good finish there. I was … to say in contention would be like understating it. I should have won the tournament, and I didn’t finish it off. I had a little bit of a meltdown.

“So I’m just thrilled to be right back at the top of the leaderboard to test myself out again this week, because that’s really what you want at the start of the year,” he continued. “You want to get in contention as much as possible and let the chips fall. You start trying to control too many things out there, it doesn’t work out in your favor. So, I get another chance to learn some really great lessons and maybe some hard lessons this week again.”

Other contenders

T6. Ben Martin, Keith Mitchell, Lucas Glover, Peter Malnati, Seamus Power, Scott Stallings, Adam Svensson, Justin Thomas (-5)

Obviously, J.T. is the big name here at the 5-under group. He got it all the way to 7 under as well before dropping two shots at the par-3 13th hole on a water ball. Other than that shot — which came up 25 yards short of the hole and in the water — he’s been hitting it quite well this week (he still gained strokes on approach play on Friday) and is poised to win his first event since the 2022 PGA Championship.

“Yeah, I think my finish on 18 kind of sums it up,” said Thomas, who made bogey at the last to fall out of a tie for first. “I truly just feel like I completely lost my concentration and what was going on and just hit a terrible iron shot there. 

“Yeah, it was weird. I mean, I think we got very lucky with the weather,” he continued. “I know those guys had a lot of wind this morning, we had some this afternoon, it just was very gusty and it made that back nine very challenging. But, yeah, I scrambled really well and I hit a lot of really, really quality golf shots. I picked a bad time to have the worst shot of the tournament so far, but I’m in a great place with two days left.”

Presumably, the “worst shot of the tournament” was a reference to that shot on No. 13 that came up well short of the pin and the green. But J.T. scrambled well at other times and held a 2-under round together, in the instance below with one of the great flop shots you’ll see.

Sam Burns MC

Of course I picked Sam Burns in my one-and done this week, and of course he misses his first cut of the year at a place where he has traditionally thrived (and won multiple times). Of course. Burns’ success so far this year had been terrific … until this week.

Jordan Spieth adventures

Spieth also missed the cut after a wild second day that included some interesting exploration. He shot 74 when even 73 would have helped him play the weekend. It certainly did not help him that the morning wave experienced a golf course that played a shot more difficult than it did in the afternoon.

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