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Golf - Albatross lifts Knox within one shot of early Valspar lead

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(Reuters) – An albatross from 275 yards helped vault Russell Knox within one stroke of the clubhouse lead during the first round at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida on Thursday.

After a 300-yard drive, Knox used a three-wood for his rare feat at the par-five 11th hole at Innisbrook Resort and his ball trickled into the hole at perfect speed.

“It was a good way to go from plus two to minus one very quickly,” the Scot told PGA Tour radio after carding a four-under-par 67.

“I hit a beautiful drive. I knew if I hit a nice three-wood down there I’d be somewhere near the green. I smoked in on line, it just carried the bunker, kicked on and rolled, rolled, rolled.

“I would have been delighted with a birdie.”

Knox, a two-times PGA Tour winner, said it was not his first albatross, recalling that he made one at the final hole on his home course near Dunbar.

Austrian Sepp Straka and American Joel Dahmen led on five-under 66 with half the field back in the clubhouse.

Englishman Luke Donald and American Kevin Kisner joined Knox on 67, but it was not a good morning for a couple of big names.

Former world number one Jason Day stumbled to a 74, while Patrick Reed shot 77 three weeks before he will defend his Masters title at the year’s first major.

Reed’s card included three double-bogeys.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)

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