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Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Magic 62 to Start for Ben Martin.

Ben Martin recorddragon logo darkZurich Classic of New Orleans Logo

Ben Martin shot a course record, a magic 62 in the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

Ben Martin, 26, will attempt to become just the fifth first-round leader to win this season on TOUR. (Chris Greythan/Getty Images)

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.”

Justin Rose ready to defend his BMW Championship Crown

Justin Rose is keen and eager to defend his BMW Championship Crown, as he tries to become the ninth golfer ever to win consecutive BMW Championship/Western Open titles. Eight of the previous back-to-back winners won at least three majors and is also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Four of the eight are ranked among the PGA Tour’s top-10 all-time winners, and now Justin has a unique chance to join them. The some of the names included on the winners’ list are,  Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead  and Tiger Woods.

Justin said;

“It’s overwhelming to think that you grew up watching the Western Open and that you’re a part of that tournament and that heritage. When I won last year, they gave me two trophies, and you know, it’s not often that you win a tournament and you get two trophies.”

Justin Rose Justin Rose of England tees off on the 1st during the Pro-Am round prior to the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at the Wentworth Club on May 23, 2012 in Virginia Water, England.

 Justin Rose Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe)
The tournament this year is  temporarily leaving the familiar setting of suburban Chicago, where Rose won last year, for the PGA Tour’s first stop in Indianapolis in more than two decades, at Crooked Stick. Ticket sales for the Sept. 6-9 event have been brisker than organizers anticipated.
Justin can happily recall  every vivid detail from Crooked Stick’s last PGA event.  The tale of John Daly’s late-night arrival at the 1991 PGA Championship to the to the roaring crowds that followed the late alternate player all weekend, and Big John’s fist-pumping stroll down the 18th fairway, Justin can recall all the details like he was there in person.
“It was the whole story, him driving through the night, getting there late. I think it shows you that sometimes expectations, or the lack thereof, is a mindset that brings out the best in us. I feel like sometimes, I’ve played my best golf when I was really sick. When you talk about the FedEx Cup and the playoffs, sometimes, I think it’s important to not believe your own words and to simplify it to just golf. What we hadn’t had in recent years was Tiger competing for the FedEx Cup. With him being up there, he’s going to want to come here and play well and that’s good. But it’s a case of beware of what you wish for.”
Justin is interested in the history of Crooked Stick, and would like to meet Pete Dye in person, or even maybe see him riding around Crooked Stick with his dog in the golf cart.

 

“The history is what really makes tournaments great. The list of names on that trophy,  Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus and Tiger , is really great.  I’ve never done it, won back-to-back, and it would be one of those ticks on the to-do list. As the defending champ, you want to come back and do yourself proud, but you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself.”

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