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Champ-Finau and Hovland-Ventura share 36-hole lead

AVONDALE, La. – Cameron Champ bombed his tee at 18, however his accomplice, Tony Finau, wasn’t overly impressed. He described it as “a bunt of 340.” So what if Shotlink solely had it touring 320 yards.

“I necked it,” mentioned Champ, who ranks third in driving distance on the PGA Tour this season.

Finau joked that he anticipated to have a shorter iron in to the par 5 than his 3-iron and needled Champ that if he was solely going to bunt one on the market, “maybe on Sunday I’ll hit on 18 so I can get it a little closer in.”

Finau and Champ, who tabbed themselves Team Send It, may joke about their prodigious size after ending with a birdie and a share of the 36-hole lead on the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. They teamed for an alternate-shot rating of 4-under 68 at TPC Louisiana, which tied for the low spherical of the day, and improved to 13-under 131, matching the overall of Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura.

On one other day when the wind was whipping and the format on the staff occasion despatched scores ballooning for a lot of within the discipline, Finau and Champ managed to maintain their composure. That’s a power of this laidback pairing. While different gamers have a staff of statisticians pouring over numbers to find out who ought to tee off on the odd holes, Champ and Finau have been flipping a coin on the primary tee and letting destiny dictate their technique.

“It’s one less thing to stress about,” Champ mentioned.

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On Thursday, for the best-ball format, it seemed like a scene out of an Abbott and Costello film.

“I had my coin out and I said, this is heads and this is tails, and we flipped and it was funny actually, it ended up being — I picked tails and it ended up being heads, and well, what does that mean, and we still didn’t know,” Finau mentioned. “He just agreed that I would go, and then he jumped the gun on the first hole and he went first, so then I got to No. 2, I’m like, well, I guess you want to go, he’s like no, you just go, so I just went on 2, so I just ended up going first all day.”

On Friday, with just one ball in play, Finau switched it up on the vary proper earlier than they headed to the tee and referred to as heads and odds. This time he was right and teed off first. It’s labored for them to date and they’re sticking to it.

“On 18 I happened to peek over, and wow, we were on top of the leaderboard,” Finau mentioned. “I think we’ll do what we’ve been doing the last couple days, which is enjoy each other’s company and not add any bonus pressure when it comes to teammate golf. We’ve done a good job of that, and we’ll continue that the next couple days.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Viktor Hovland celebrates with Kris Ventura after their final putt on the ninth gap in the course of the second spherical of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La., Friday, April 23, 2021. (Photo: Max Becherer/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate)

Hovland and Ventura, who shared the first-round lead, have loved their time collectively, too. However, they struggled within the early going, failing to make a birdie till their ninth gap of the day at No. 18. To make issues worse, they made a double bogey on the par-4 16th when Hovland hit their second shot within the water.

“It was my fault,” Ventura mentioned. “We tried to hit the fairway with an iron and I hit it in that bunker. I wasn’t the best teammate.”

But Ventura redeemed himself, draining an 11-foot birdie putt at 18, and the previous Oklahoma State teammates who each hail from Norway have been off and working.

“We just kind of trusted our games,” Hovland mentioned. “We played really solid yesterday, and we knew, OK, one bad hole, we can birdie the rest of the holes, and we managed to birdie five from there, which was really good today.”

Finau and Champ and Hovland and Ventura will probably be paired collectively in Saturday’s third spherical when the format returns to greatest ball. Hovland and Ventura’s technique nearly makes Finau and Champ’s coin flip sound advanced.

“Just keep making birdies. It’s pretty simple,” Ventura mentioned. “You just have to out here, especially in the best ball. It’ll just be fun to play this weekend.”


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TPC Louisiana

TPC Louisiana

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