Little known names top leaderboard after one round of Zurich Classic
AVONDALE, La. – It was nearly perfect.
The weather was perfect, the conditions were perfect, the crowd was excellent, the food is always perfect and the golf was superb Thursday at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The TPC Louisiana course was in great shape, the greens rolled very well and the players took advantage of the outstanding conditions to go low in round one.
Taking advantage of the benign conditions and the four ball format, 79 of the 80 teams entered went under par. The only one not doing so was the senior pairing of John Daly and David Duval, who combined for a 3-over par 75.
At the end of the day, a pair of later day pairings emerged as the co-leaders.
Americans Wyndham Clark and Bo Hossler fired an 11-under par 61 in an impressive performance.
Clark, who has played well this year with four top 10 finishes, tied for 29th at the RBC Heritage Classic last week. He is in search of his first PGA tour victory.
Hossler is also a non-winner on tour, though he has two runner-up finishes and one third place result. His best finish this year is a tie for 11th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
The American team of Sean O’Hair and Brandon Matthews also recorded an 11-under par 61 to tie for the lead.
O’Hair is a four-time PGA champion but his last win was in 2011. O’Hair’s best finish was a tie for 19th at the Valspar Championship.
Matthews in a non-winner, ranked 200th in the FedEx standings. His best finish this year is 35th.
Among the five teams tied for second at 10 under par 62 are the brother team of Matt and Alex Fitzpatrick, along with the team of David Lipsky and Aaron Rai and the duo of Keith Mitchell and Sungjae Im.
Also at 10 under are Henrik Norlander of Sweden with Luke List of the United States and the duo of Korean S.Y. Noh and American Michael Kim.
Sahith Theegala, who has come on strong of late, teamed with Justin Suh to get to nine under par 63, along with four other teams.
Billy Horschel and former LSU star Sam Burns fired an 8 under par 64 to lead a quagmire of 16 teams at that total through one round. Charley Hoffman and Nick Watney, along with the team of Luke Donald and Eduardo Molinari are also at 8 under par.
One of the three top teams in the event finds itself at six under 66. Max Homa and Collin Morikawa struggled early but finished strong to put themselves five strokes back of the lead.
Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson are also at 6-under par.
Defending champions Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele also started slow and picked it up to finish at five under 67, six shots back.
Round two switches to the alternate shot format, which will move more quickly and will not produce the low scores we saw Thursday.
The weather forecast is an issue with thunderstorms likely starting at 9:30 a.m. and lasting possibly to as late as 2 p.m. when they are expected to taper off.
As a result, the PGA Tour announced today that it has pushed up the start time Friday by an hour and 20 minutes to begin at 7 a.m.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…