2024 Valspar Championship leaderboard, scores: Keith Mitchell goes on heater as Justin Thomas implodes

keith mitchell 2024 valspar

Most notable after 54 holes of the 2024 Valspar Championship is how many golfers have a chance to win. Well, that and Keith Mitchell’s insane 3-2-2 finish on one of the trickier closing stretches on the PGA Tour to take the lead entering the final 18 holes at Innisbrook on Sunday.

Mitchell took a two-shot lead over a big group by holing out from 151 yards on the 18th — a shot he didn’t even see go in the hole — to complete a 29 on the back nine and enter the clubhouse with a 5-under 66 for the day that put him 10 under for the event. He leads three different golfers by two and another trio by three.

“Obviously, some luck involved in that, but the good thing is I executed all the shots I wanted to,” Mitchell said of his strong close. “That’s really all I could do. I could have hit those same shots and made three pars and been just as happy. … If I hit the shots like I hit coming down the stretch [Sunday], I’ll have a chance. Because I hit ’em all where I wanted to. Johnny [Limanti, Mitchell’s caddie] and I had some good numbers, and we executed ’em well. Out here with the wind, small greens, small fairways, you can hit good shots and not get rewarded.”

There are an incredible 25 players within six of Mitchell’s lead and 40 within six of second place. Given how much this leaderboard changed from Friday to Saturday, the closing round could be a thriller Sunday. Let’s take a closer look at a wild finish to the third round at Innisbrook.

The leader

1. Keith Mitchell (-10): It was not an impressive first 13 holes for Mitchell, who stood on the par-5 14th tee box even par for the day and three back of the lead. Then he lost his mind, closing birdie-par-birdie-birdie-eagle, the last of which was an all time moment.  Mitchell first missed seeing the hole out because he had something in his eye. 

Then he hilariously asked his caddie for his putter even though the ball was in the hole because he wanted to fix his pitch mark on the green. An incredibly saucy move for somebody who has perhaps as much swag as anyone on the PGA Tour.

Will Mitchell close? 

That’s going to be the question of Sunday’s final round. The golf has been good of late — three top 20s in his last four starts and a bit of contention for a while at last week’s Players Championship — but “top 20” and “holding off 20 players trying to take over the top spot of a tournament” are different achievements. 

Mitchell has led after 54 holes one time before on the PGA Tour — at the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship, where he shot 72 in the final round and finished T3.

“I tell myself [I’m ready to start winning more] a lot, and sometimes when you tell yourself that too much and you don’t win, it actually can be a negative,” he said. “It’s really hard to win out here. I got my win early and felt like I could win more. Unfortunately, that’s a really high expectation out here. Hopefully, I can continue to work on the right things, maybe even add some more stuff into my practice so that I can just put myself in contention more often. The more you’re in contention the better chance you have to win.”

Other contenders

T2. Seamus Power, Mackenzie Hughes, Peter Malnati (-8)
T5. Chandler Phillips, Cameron Young, Brendon Todd (-7)
T8. Cameron Champ, Adam Hadwin, Rico Hoey, Adam Svensson, Kevin Roy (-6)

The rest of the leaderboard is a smorgasbord. At one point on Saturday, there were 16 golfers with a better than 1% chance of winning the tournament but nobody with a better than 16% chance. A total free for all.

The three golfers in the final group on Saturday — Chandler Phillips, Kevin Streelman and Stewart Cink — went from the top of the board to T5, T18 and T46 respectively. 

Anything can happen here on Sunday, but the players who are hitting it best (other than Mitchell, who is No. 1 in ball striking) are as follows.

  • Joel Dahmen (-1): 2nd in ball-striking
  • Ryan Moore (-5): 3rd
  • Rico Hoey (-6): 4th
  • Seamus Power (-8): 5th
  • Kevin Streelman (-5): 6th
  • Eric Cole (-2): 7th
  • Carl Yuan (-5): 8th
  • Thomas Detry (-4): 9th
  • Cameron Young (-7): 10th

Justin Thomas took 38 putts 

J.T. birdied his first hole and looked poised for a charge up the leaderboard. Then he played the rest of his round in 9 over. He had one of the worst putting days I have ever seen and did not make a single putt over 3 feet. His round included four three-putts. The numbers are astonishing

He started the day 5 under and tied with Mitchell. Eighteen holes later, he sits 13 back.

2024 Valspar Championship update odds, picks

Odds via Sportsline consensus

  • Keith Mitchell: 19/10
  • Mackenzie Hughes: 13/2
  • Seamus Power: 15/2
  • Cameron Young: 15/2
  • Peter Malnati: 11-1
  • Brendon Todd: 12-1

I personally think Mitchell is going to win this tournament, but considering how bunched the board is just behind Mitchell and how much it shifted on Saturday, there is value in Young at 15/2 given how he’s hitting it and in some of the guys further down like Svensson (35-1), Hoey (50-1) and Yuan (110-1).

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