PGA Tour

Martin opens with sizzling 62

Ben Martin (AFP)
Ben Martin (AFP)

New Orleans - Ben Martin fired a course-record 10-under 62 to seize a two-shot lead in the opening round of the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic on Thursday.

The 26-year-old American, who has made just two cuts in his last nine tournaments, has a slim lead over Andrew Svoboda after a bogey-free round at the TPC Louisiana.

Making the cut is a good omen for Martin as he finished third in both those events.

"Everything was working well," Martin said of his round.

"I felt like I was managing my game well and I was hitting shots where I was looking.

"I think (the wind) was a little bit of a factor, but when I was into the wind I played a little more conservative and I took advantage of the holes that were downwind."

Svoboda, of the US, posted an eight-under 64 to sit alone in second place, while Sweden's Peter Hanson and South Korea's Noh Seung-Yul shot matching seven-under 65s to share third.

Michael Thompson, Chad Collins and Erik Compton are tied for fifth place at six-under 66.

Martin got off to a fast start by making birdie on his first two holes. He then birdied four of the next six to make the turn at six-under 30.

He birdied the par-four 10th and par-five 11th before making par at the 12th. He also had birdies at 13 and 17.

Defending champion Billy Horschel shot an opening round two-over 74. Horschel, who is seeking his first top-10 finish in a full field event since the 2013 US Open, is playing in a group with Patrick Reed (74) and Rickie Fowler (75).

South Africa's Ernie Els shot a even-par 72 while playing alongside reigning US Open champ Justin Rose (71) and American David Toms (73).

This week's winner and next week's champion in Charlotte will qualify for next month's Players Championship.

Scores after Thursday's first round of the $6.8 million PGA Tour's Zurich Classic (par 72, USA unless noted):

62 - Ben Martin

64 - Andrew Svoboda

65 - Peter Hanson (SWE), Seung-Yul Noh (KOR)

66 - Erik Compton, Chad Collins, Michael Thompson

67 - Stuart Appleby (AUS), Jeff Overton, Robert Streb

68 - David Duval, JJ Henry, Charles Howell, Charley Hoffman, Doug LaBelle, DH Lee (KOR), Sang-Moon Bae (KOR), Will Wilcox, David Lingmerth (SWE)

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