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Garnett-Stallings, Hovland-Ventura share Zurich Classic lead


AVONDALE, La. (AP) — Brice Garnett and Scott Stallings birdied eight of their final 11 holes, Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura birdied 9 of their last 12, and each groups shot 10-under 62 in Zurich Classic to share the first-round lead Thursday.

“Kris decided to heat up his putter. That really helped,” Hovland stated. “But I felt like we really played solid golf all 18 holes.”

Ventura made a 36-foot birdie putt from the perimeter on 15 and a 19-footer on 16 for his seventh and last birdie of the day within the best-ball format performed on the primary and third rounds. Players will alternate pictures within the second and last rounds.

Garnett hit method pictures inside 7 ft on the primary, second, fourth and fifth holes and made all 4 birdie putts after his crew made the flip following a back-nine begin. Stallings’ birdie putt from practically 18 ft on the eighth gap pulled his crew right into a tie atop the leaderboard.

“We had a tale of two nines,” stated Stallings, who made half of his crew’s 10 birdies. “It was nice we didn’t birdie the same hole ever, and that’s what you have to do. We did a great job of that today.”

Hovland began the Norwegian tandem’s run up the leaderboard by touchdown a shot from the bunker left of the inexperienced inside 4 ft to birdie the par-5 seventh.

Ventura birdied Nos. 8, 9 and 11 — highlighted by his 9-foot putt on the par-3 ninth – earlier than Hovland put a 194-yard method on 12 inside 2 ft to arrange one other birdie. Hovland additionally birdied the par-5 18th.

Seven groups shot 63, together with two-time Zurich champion Billy Horschel and his teammate, Louisiana native and former LSU participant Sam Burns.

Tony Finau and Cameron Champ, who had a back-nine begin in the identical group as Horschel and Burns, birdied the seventh and eighth holes to affix the third-place groups.

Cameron Smith, who gained the Zurich throughout its first yr as a crew occasion in 2017, made a 38-foot eagle putt on the par-5 second gap to assist him and fellow Australian Marc Leishman put up a 63. Smith additionally had six of his crew’s seven birdies.

“I’ll probably buy dinner tonight after that exhibition he put on,” Leishman stated. “He’s definitely owed that.”

Louis Oosthuizen practically put his method shot within the water on 18, however then chipped in from a steep embankment for birdie to tug himself and his teammate, fellow South African Charl Schwartzel, right into a tie for third.

Also at 63 have been the groups of Brendan Steele and Keegan Bradley; Sebastian Cappelen and Mark Hubbard; and Kyle Stanley and Kyoung-Hoon Lee.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay — the one crew with two gamers ranked on the earth’s prime 10 — completed amongst a handful of groups at 64, together with the tandem of Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler.

A cool breeze from the north that had quite a few gamers carrying lengthy sleeves — unusual in late April in south Louisiana — additionally had a chilling impact on the anticipated risk-taking that may happen within the best-ball format. That was significantly the case on the 403-yard thirteenth gap, the place gamers elected to purpose for the golf green to the correct of an enormous cypress tree relatively go straight on the inexperienced over a waste bunker to the left of the tree.

“This course isn’t really designed to play in this wind,” Horschel stated, additionally noting he did recognize temperatures within the 60s for a lot of the spherical. “It was nice to see Sam have a really good round because he’s been playing well … and I just made sure I didn’t do anything stupid.”

Defending champions Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm shot 65.

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