Jon Rahm lines up a putt on the first hole during the first round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament in Palm Harbor, Fla., Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Dahmen, Straka share early lead at Innisbrook

March 21, 2019 - 1:40 pm

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — The PGA Tour event that doesn't have Tiger Woods this year instead has the Leaping Cougar.

That's a childhood nickname for Joel Dahmen, who took advantage of gentle conditions on a tough golf course for a 5-under 66 to share the early lead Thursday with Sepp Straka in the Valspar Championship.

The tournament allowed players to put whatever name they wanted on the back of their caddie's bibs. Dahmen, a cancer survivor who keeps golf light, went with the nickname he was given in a scouting group as a young boy in Washington state.

It was all part of plenty of activity at Innisbrook, where Russell Knox made an albatross on the par-5 11th, and Peter Uihlein saw one for the second straight week.

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