Thursday, April 24th, 2014
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Defending champ opens over par at the Zurich 04-24-2014
Billy Horschel
Billy Horschel opened his title defense of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a 2-over-par 35-39=74 and sits 12 strokes off the overnight lead. Horschel went just 2-for-11 in par-breaker opportunities and squared two bogeys and a double. While he rolled in a zero-putt six-yarder for par at No. 6 and converted a birdie from 16'11" at 5, he missed twice from inside six feet. It's his 18th round of par or worse in his last 23, a stretch that features zero top 35s in stroke-play events. Given the emotion that he wears on his sleeve, it's not surprising that he's a streaky player.
Wilcox 'settles' for bogey-free 68 in opener 04-24-2014
Will Wilcox
Will Wilcox carded a bogey-free, 4-under-par 34-34=68 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, finishing six strokes off the overnight lead. This was about as high a score for which he could have signed. The rookie missed only one green in regulation, but converted on just four chances to break par. His only notable birdie measured 14'7" at the par-4 10th. He also whiffed on three chances inside 10 feet, including a 47-incher at the par-4 fifth.
Ben Martin sets course record @ TPC Louisiana 04-24-2014
Ben Martin
Ben Martin experienced a day to remember in the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after which he signed for a bogey-free, 10-under-par 30-32=62. Martin is fresh off a T3 at Harbour Town, so his game travels. He hit 15 greens in regulation and poured in 10 birdies en route to the course record and personal low on the PGA TOUR. (Eight before him, including Andrew Svoboda in the morning wave, had shared the previous low of 64 at TPC Louisiana.) Somewhat amusingly, Martin connected four sets of birdie-birdie-par on his first 12 holes. Four of the eight birdies dropped in from beyond 10 feet, the longest measuring 26'6" at No. 5. He then holed his ninth birdie of the round from 19'6" at 13. The final par breaker was arguably the most impressive in that he chipped in from 18 yards at the par-3 17th. At the time he signed his card, his strokes gained-putting clip sat north of 4.030. Martin will sleep on a two-stroke lead and with a smile on his face.
Hoffman continues to pour it on; sits 4 back 04-24-2014
Charley Hoffman
Charley Hoffman posted a 4-under-par 35-33=68 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Hoffman has cashed in 12 of 13 starts this season. Three yielded top 10s while two others just missed the top 10. At 32nd in FedExCup points, he's essentially extended the form that carried through 2013. Today at TPC Louisiana, he hit 13 greens and chased in six birdies. The set was punctuated by a conversion from 41'10" at the par-4 12th hole. He squared two bogeys early, but still walked off just four strokes off the clubhouse lead.
Seung-yul Noh roars back with a bogey-free 65 04-24-2014
Seung-yul Noh
Seung-yul Noh thrashed TPC Louisiana for a bogey-free, 7-under-par 31-34=65 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. We last saw the South Korean at the Shell Houston Open where he withdrew after 25 holes with a wrist injury. Today's return was sublime as he missed only two greens in regulation and rolled in seven birdies, two of which from just outside 13 feet at Nos. 11 and 4. His most clutch par save came at the par-4 sixth where he had to pitch out of the junk after a poor tee ball. After finding the green with his third, his attempt from 14'7" disappeared. Noh signed his card sitting one stroke off the clubhouse lead.
M. Thompson matches low round of his season 04-24-2014
Michael Thompson
Michael Thompson turned in a 6-under-par 30-36=66 for his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, finishing just two strokes off the clubhouse lead. As evidence by that first nine, Thompson flew out of the gates today. He converted six birdies going out, including rolls 28'3" at the 10th hole and 17'1" at 14. He also jarred a 17-yarder from off the green at 15. Bogeys at Nos. 2 and 6 limited his scrambling clip to just 1-for-3, but he countered with birdies at the par-5 seventh and par-4 eighth. The one-time PGA TOUR winner hasn't cracked a top 15 this season, but he's 96th in FedExCup points. Today's aggregate equals his season low (7-under 66 to open the HTOC).
Bae the early leader among the afternoon wave 04-24-2014
Sang-Moon Bae
Sang-moon Bae opened the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a 4-under-par 34-34=68, finishing four strokes off the clubhouse lead. Bae was the first to sign for as low a score out of today's late draw. He hit only 11 greens in regulation, yet his only bogey occurred at the par-5 18th hole where he found a greenside bunker with his third and blasted out to just outside 20 feet from where he'd two-putt. Otherwise, he was nails in picking off five birdies, including runs of 22'10", 14'6" and 19'10" at Nos. 10, 13 and 14, respectively. He also holed a par conversion from four yards just off the green at 6. This is exactly the kind of shot in the arm he needed after missing his last three cuts.
O'Hair trades good with bad in opening round 04-24-2014
Sean O'Hair
Sean O'Hair settled for a 1-under-par 35-36=71 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. O'Hair hasn't competed since a stomach virus forced him to withdraw after 46 holes of the Shell Houston Open. Today at TPC Louisiana, he hit only 11 greens in regulation, but outweighed three bogeys with four birdies. While his set of par breakers included conversions from 25'8" and 21'6" at Nos. 5 and 17, respectively, he also fanned on three tries inside nine feet.
Streb makes most of infrequent opportunity 04-24-2014
Robert Streb
Robert Streb enjoyed a bogey-free, 5-under-par 33-34=67 for his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Making just his seventh start of the season due to conditional status, Streb landed 16 greens in regulation and circled five birdies today. Three of his conversions measured 13-15 feet, but the gem stretched 31'4" for par at the par-4 sixth hole. He's three strokes off the clubhouse lead and boasts a strokes gained-putting clip of 2.704 at last check.
Chalmers returns, posts a red number in NOLA 04-24-2014
Greg Chalmers
Greg Chalmers signed for a 1-under-par 35-36=71 following his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He called it quits after one round at Harbour Town last week due to a back injury, so it's comforting to see him ready to play again. We'll even embrace the under-par score. He hit 12 greens and buried three birdies, but his longest conversion of the day dropped for par at the par-5 18th, his ninth of the loop around TPC Louisiana. The lefty found water off the tee, took a drop and eventually rolled in his save from 20'1".
D.H. Lee cards his lowest aggregate of 2014 04-24-2014
D.H. Lee shot a 4-under-par 34-34=68 in the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Lee's sophomore season has been a failure, but it takes just one week to turn it around. He went 6-for-15 in par-breaker chances at TPC Louisiana today, burying six birdies to offset a pair of bogeys. Four of his birdies traveled longer than 10 feet, the highlight measuring 47'2" at the par-3 third hole. He signed his card sitting four strokes off the clubhouse lead and with a strokes gained-putting split just over 2.000. It's his lowest aggregate since he opened the season with a 3-under 67 at The McGladrey Classic in November.
Henry busts his slump on Thursday in NOLA 04-24-2014
J.J. Henry
J.J. Henry carded a 4-under-par 31-37=68 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, finishing four strokes off the clubhouse lead. Henry occupied the top of the leaderboard until bogeys at 14 and 17, but he gathered six birdies on his first 10 holes. The longest stretched a mere 13'7" at the par-4 fourth. It's a surprising day given he arrived just 3-for-11 in 2014 with no better than a T40 at Riviera. He hadn't signed for a sub-70 since a second-round 68 at The Honda Classic where he missed the cut anyway.
CH3 coasts in his lid-lifter at TPC Louisiana 04-24-2014
Charles Howell III
Charles Howell III submitted a bogey-free, 4-under-par 34-34=68 for his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. It's never a surprise when CH3 earns our attention, but he's remained stuck on two victories since 2007 despite cashing 308 times. He's 13-for-15 this season and sits 27th in FedExCup points. There are few fans that wouldn't love to trade careers, but the infrequency of hoisting hardware would wear on most egos. In any event, he went 4-for-4 in scrambling at TPC Louisiana today and picked off four birdies, three of which on par 5s. His other birdie fell in from 11 feet at the par-4 10th, his first of the day. He's four swings back of the clubhouse lead.
Duval opens bogey-free at the Zurich Classic 04-24-2014
David Duval
David Duval spun a bogey-free, 4-under-par 33-35=68 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In the field on a sponsor exemption and having exhausted his allotment of career earnings exemptions, the 42-year-old is seemingly at the end of the line, but he conjured old form at TPC Louisiana today. Duval converted four birdies, three of which from outside 10 feet. The longest measured 22'7" at the par-5 11th hole, his second of the round. He's four strokes adrift of the clubhouse lead.
Bogey-free Svoboda's career low leads Zurich 04-24-2014
Andrew Svoboda torched TPC Louisiana for a bogey-free, 8-under-par 34-30=64 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, good for outright possession of the clubhouse lead. This was an incredible round of golf. Svoboda hit 15 greens in regulation and poured in eight birdies, six of which on his inward nine. The set featured conversions from 19'8", 24'6" and 12'7" at 1, 17 and 18, respectively. He didn't miss inside 20 feet! At last check, his strokes gained-putting clip sat at 3.157. Today's score goes in the books as his career low in his 33rd PGA TOUR start.
Fairway hole-out highlights Hanson's big day 04-24-2014
Peter Hanson
Peter Hanson motored to a 7-under-par 33-32=65 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to steal outright possession of the clubhouse lead. Hanson is making just his eighth start of the season devoid a top 30 in a full-field, stroke-play event. At 149th in FedExCup points and not far removed from a back injury that interrupted his schedule in 2013, he's not necessarily popular in our world. That may have changed today. The Swede hit 12 greens and limited the damage to a lone bogey at the par-4 first hole where he accepted a penalty for an unplayable lie off the tee. Elsewhere, he connected birdies at Nos. 11-13, the last dropping from 15'1", and then went birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle beginning at the par-3 third where he holed out from off the green eight yards away. He then connected on a 22-yarder at 4 and a conventional conversion from 12'10" at 5. However, Hanson saved the best for last when he jarred his approach from 183 yards at the par-4 sixth for eagle. The cherry on top is that today's aggregate matches his career low on the PGA TOUR.
Chad Collins grabs a slice of clubhouse lead 04-24-2014
Chad Collins
Chad Collins pured a 6-under-par 32-34=66 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to earn a share of the clubhouse lead. While 102nd in FedExCup points, Collins limped into the bayou on a 2-for-8 slide with no top 25s, but he turned the tables with seven birdies against a lone bogey (at the par-3 third hole) today. Only one of his par breakers measured longer than nine feet, that dropping in from 17'5" at 15.
Appleby opens w/ bogey-free 67 in New Orleans 04-24-2014
Stuart Appleby
Stuart Appleby crafted a bogey-free, 5-under-par 34-33=67 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, finishing one stroke off the clubhouse lead. The Aussie is fresh off a T12 at Harbour Town, his fourth top 25 of the season. That's one more (in 15 starts) than all of 2013 (in 25). Today at TPC Louisiana, he went 3-for-3 in scrambling and buried five birdies, including respective rolls from 15'10" and 10'10" at Nos. 13 and 18, respectively. His most impressive par save measured 13'8" at 4.
Overton spins lowest round in three months 04-24-2014
Jeff Overton
Jeff Overton turned in a 5-under-par 32-35=67 for his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Overton has been dealing with a wrist injury for most of 2014, so it's no surprise that today's aggregate is his lowest in over three months. In fact, it's just his fourth red number in his last 16 rounds. He went 6-for-7 in scrambling and circled six birdies, including rolls from 11'4" and 31 feet at the eighth and 14th holes, respectively. However, his most impressive conversion came courtesy of a 10-yard hole-out from off the green for par at 12. He signed his card sitting one stroke off the clubhouse lead.
Erik Compton assumes outright lead in NOLA 04-24-2014
Erik Compton
Erik Compton fashioned a 6-under-par 32-34=66 for his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, good for sole possession of the clubhouse lead. Compton has battled his way to 84th in the FedExCup standings on the strength of 11 paydays in 15 starts. He's poised to add another at TPC Louisiana where he missed only two greens in regulation today and circled seven birdies. The set included conversions of 15'10", 13'2" and 22'5" at Nos. 11, 13 and 9, respectively. Compton's only gaffe occurred at the par-4 12th where he missed the green and settled for bogey. Today's score equals his season-low aggregate.
Lingmerth logs his lowest opener of 2013-14 04-24-2014
David Lingmerth
David Lingmerth posted a 4-under-apr 34-34=68 in his opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, finishing with a share of the early clubhouse lead. Lingmerth capitalized on 12 greens in regulation with an eagle-3 (from 18'1" at seventh hole) and six birdies, four of which from 10-17 feet. He also poured in a par save from 13'8" at 9. He got up and down only three times, settling for two bogeys and a double, but the consolation is that this is his lowest lid-lifter in 14 starts this season. He has only one top 25.
LaBelle II sets pace among the dew sweepers 04-24-2014
Doug LaBelle II
Doug LaBelle II opened the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a 4-under-par 34-34=68 to establish the very early clubhouse lead. It's been an eventful 18 hours or so for the journeyman. He didn't receive a tee time until Fred Funk withdrew on Wednesday afternoon, and then when he was laced up to go, play was delayed by 20 minutes due to fog. LaBelle II went off in the first threesome off the 10th tee and promptly hit 14 greens in regulation en route to six birdies. Five among the set traveled longer than 11 feet, the highlight measuring 18'2" at the par-4 13th hole. It's just his ninth round of the season, but it's his lowest.
Beckman gets in; fog forces 20-minute delay 04-24-2014
Cameron Beckman
Cameron Beckman has been added to the published field of this week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

PGATOUR.com
Beckman started the week as the 10th alternate and rose to No. 3 on Wednesday, but gained entry when Charlie Beljan withdrew and the first two alternates weren't on site to accept the berth. (First-alternate Ben Kohles is in the field at the WNB Golf Classic on the Web.com Tour. Jason Gore was second alternate and not playing the WNB.) This is Beckman's fourth start of the season. He's cashed thrice but hasn't posted a top 35. Meanwhile, fog delayed the first round by 20 minutes. As a result, the first ball wasn't aloft until 7:20 a.m. CT.
Beljan a late scratch at the Zurich Classic 04-24-2014
Charlie Beljan
Charlie Beljan withdrew from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans prior to his tee time in today's opening round.

PGATOUR.com
He missed the cut on the number at Harbour Town to go 6-for-15 on the season. Given that he's 126th in the FedExCup standings, today's decision suggests that he's either dealing with a physical ailment or that a personal matter needs attention.
Micheel ready to play after another procedure 04-24-2014
Shaun Micheel
Shaun Micheel is scheduled to compete in this week's WNB Golf Classic on the Web.com Tour.

Shaun Micheel on Twitter
Two months ago, Micheel learned that he had blockage of 99 percent of his right coronary artery. After having a procedure to alleviate the problem, he traveled to South American and finished T52 at the Chile Classic. Out since, he alerted followers on Twitter on April 17 that he was back in the hospital for more treatment: "Finally out of the OR. Doc fixed the RCA and Circumflex along w/2 more arteries. Hoping it holds...tired of hospitals!" On Wednesday, he learned that he gained entry into the Texas stop on the secondary circuit. At the time he tweeted the following, he was first alternate: "Heart surgery on Thursday and getting on an airplane right now for Dallas. Medical technology is amazing."