Ben Martin shot a course record, a magic 62 in the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.
A happy Ben Martin / Getty Images
Ben has shot a 62 before, but that was on his home course, Greenwood Country Club, this one was in the big league;
” I think back, and that round and this round were two of the best rounds I’ve ever played, It was everything, the shots were going where I was looking and the putts were going in just like I was seeing them.”
The wind really picked up during the day, but Ben seemed oblivious to the conditions;
” I hate the cliché, one shot at a time, but when it gets windy like that, that’s really what you have to focus on. We played in the wind every day last week, so I was probably a little bit used to it. Really, everything was working well, I had a pretty good start and just kept it rolling. It was just one of those days, just like you draw it up.”
Something else that is going his way is history, six of the past nine winners of the Zurich Classic have been first-time PGA TOUR winners. Ben has no idea why that should be, but said he does play well on Pete Dye designed courses;
“I don’t know what causes that, I know that for myself, I like most Pete Dye courses. We played one last week and I was successful there. I guess whatever he does kind of fits my eye.”
Andrew Svoboda is in second place, wonderful round of -8 under par 64, and he is still two shots behind the leader.
Peter Hanson and Seung-Yul Noh are tied in third place, both recording opening rounds of -7 under par 65. Peter thinks he tries to over think what he is trying to achieve;
” We want to do this so exact and be so precise, I over-read putts and over analyze the shots, trying to figure this game out. I think sometimes you have to let the score come to you instead of you going after it.”
Eric Compton, Chad Collins and Michael Thompson are tied in fifth place at -6 under par, following their tidy rounds of 66.
Eric, a two-time heart transplant recipient, took part in a junior golf clinic earlier in the week, with youngsters who also have heart problems. He said he enjoyed meeting with the kids and it always gives him a lift;
“It seems to really relax me and really puts things in perspective. I seem to play better during the weeks where I have hospital visits.”
” This is a course that I feel very comfortable on, you have to hit a lot of long iron shots and drive it well here, and those are some of the strengths of my game.”
Michael used to live in the area, but decided to move away to help jump start his career;
“I haven’t played here much, but I’m starting to get more comfortable playing this course. At first, I thought it was a really long, big course and I felt like I had to overpower everything, but I’m starting to play more within myself and when I do that, I have rounds like today.”
“I loved New Orleans, being in the city and always having a lot to do. But I’ve always told everybody that if I would have stayed at Tulane, I probably wouldn’t have developed into the golfer that I am today as quickly. Transferring to Alabama was great for me.”