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Valspar Championship leader Adam Schenk is expecting big things

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Like a lot of first-time dads-to-be, Adam Schenk is trying to get in as much work as possible before he and his wife welcome their first child in just over a month. But he is not bringing paperwork home or staying late at the office to finish projects.

No, Schenk is trying to rack up FedEx points by playing as many tournaments as possible on the PGA Tour to hold him over while he takes paternity leave.

Friday’s round at the Valspar Championship could help make that leave a little more comfortable.

The 31-year-old shot 2-under-par 69 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort to extend his two-day lead on the field to a stroke at 7 under.

Schenk, who has yet to earn a win on tour, has played the last 10 weeks and is going to make it to the weekend for the eighth time in that run.

“I’ve generally played a lot anyway, but we’re having a little baby boy here in about a month and a half, so trying to make as many points as I can to take as much time off as I can and spend time with him and my wife, which will be very special,” Schenk said.

The Purdue grad was tied for the lead at 5 under going into Friday’s second round. He pushed out to an 8-under lead on the No. 12 hole, but bogeyed the 18th. Day 1′s other co-leaders, Stephan Jaeger (72) and Ryan Brehm (75), were tied for seventh and 25th, respectively.

“I hit a pretty good drive. I don’t think that fairway is really possibly to hit, or at least I haven’t hit it very many times, maybe 2 feet in the right rough, and had a ... not a terrible lie, and it just kind of fluffed out,” Schenk said. “I got up there and fortunately it wasn’t plugged. I hit a good bunker shot. There wasn’t much sand in the bunker. Maybe 4 1/2 feet above the hole.

“I don’t know if I hit that bad a putt, but it really broke left, and I thought it was going to be more straight. But I should have bogeyed, arguably, hole 8, 10, 11. So stealing one the other way isn’t so bad.”

From their home in Indiana, Schenk’s wife Kourtney wasn’t just resting and waiting for the baby. She was watching and offering her husband advice on social media.

“Ugh don’t 3 putt this babe!!” I say, from the recliner, still in my pajamas lol!” Kourtney Schenk tweeted. Then she added: “I was still in my PJ’s when I tweeted this at 9:41am — when you’re growing a human you get to do that,” with a crying laughing emoji.

“She’s funny like that,” Schenk said with a laugh when asked about his wife’s social media presence. Last week, when a writer noted that Schenk had been on the road the last nine weeks, Kourtney Schenk quote tweeted him and added, “Maybe his wife hates him?” And last October, she outed her husband for forgetting to pack his clubs for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

Kourtney Schenk is a presence around golf as well; she also serves as the vice president of membership for the PGA Tour Wives Association, a charity organization. And she usually is traveling with her husband. So now that she is off the road until after the baby is born, it’s been a little tougher for Schenk.

“It’s definitely different. We’ve had the same rental house here for two or three years and I have lots of memories there with her,” Schenk said. “Now I have to go in to the grocery store and I am cooking myself. I just kind of sit there and look around; I’m just by myself.”

The tough road the last few months could pay off for Schenk if he can keep it rolling into the weekend. He’s had nine top-10 finishes and one third-place finish in his career, but he feels like he is managing his game better now.

“It really couldn’t have been a ton better with the amount of putts I made. Just continue that over the weekend, hit our lines,” Schenk said. “We’re doing a really good job managing the courses and that’s why I’ve made more cuts this year, which we really made a point to.

“I mean, if you’re showing up at a tournament — I’m not trying to win every tournament, but I don’t like missing cuts. So just really making a point to really be above average at course management.”

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This story was originally published March 17, 2023, 9:21 PM.

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