PGA Tour

Martin stars at Zurich Classic

Ben Martin (AFP)
Ben Martin (AFP)

Avondale - Ben Martin followed up his stunning first-round 62 by shooting a 67 on Friday to put him three shots clear of the field at the Zurich Classic and notch the best-ever two-round total at TPC Louisiana.

Martin had his first bogey, and double-bogey, of the tournament but still moved to 15-under 129, well clear of closest pursuer Andrew Svoboda and on track for his first PGA Tour victory.

Svoboda followed his opening 64 with a 68, while Robert Streb (66) and Sueng-Yul Noh (68) were tied for third at 11 under. Erik Compton also shot a 68 and was at 10 under, a score that keeps the two-time heart transplant recipient in contention for his maiden PGA Tour triumph. Tied with Compton for fifth was Peter Hanson, who shot 69, four shots off the pace of his strong opening round.

Keegan Bradley (66), Jeff Overton (68) and Charley Hoffman (67) were 9 under.

The tournament record score at TPC Louisiana— which is hosting New Orleans' PGA Tour event for the ninth time — is 20 under, set last year by Billy Horschel.

For a while, it looked as if Martin might match that in the second round. Starting the day on the 10th hole, Martin sank a birdie, and on the par-5 11th, he chipped in from nearly 58 feet, and he also birdied the 13th.

Martin said his hot start was cooled off, almost poetically, by the sound of ice being poured into a cooler in one of the VIP suites overlooking the par-3 17th hole. It forced him to back away from a putt attempt, and he wound up three-putting.

Then he proceeded to hit his drive into water to the right of the 18th fairway, and three-putted for a double bogey.

Yet, as he walked off the green, he smiled slightly and proceeded calmly and purposefully to the first tee, where he made the first of four birdies on his second nine.

Svoboda, who will tee off with the final group for the first time in a PGA Tour event, continued to be pleased with his putting, which he credited in part to a new putter.

His highlights included a 40-yard bunker shot to set up a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 2nd.

He didn't have a single bogey in the tournament until his final hole of the day, when he three-putted the par-3 ninth.

"I hit a bad second putt there," he said of his miss from 6 feet. "But I dug pretty hard today. I played really well, so I'm pretty happy."

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

129 - Ben Martin 62-67

132 - Andrew Svoboda 64-68

133 - Seung-Yul Noh (KOR) 65-68, Robert Streb 67-66

134 - Peter Hanson (SWE) 65-69, Erik Compton 66-68

135 - Charley Hoffman 68-67, Jeff Overton 67-68, Keegan Bradley 69-66

136 - J.B. Holmes 71-65, Will Wilcox 68-68

137 - David Duval 68-69, Retief Goosen (RSA) 72-65, J.J. Henry 68-69, Bo Van Pelt 74-63, Graham DeLaet (CAN) 69-68, Chad Collins 66-71, Kevin Kisner 69-68, Mark D. Anderson 72-65, Tommy Gainey 71-66, Michael Thompson 66-71

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