Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Round 3 Suspended.

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Round 3 of the Zurich Classic  of New Orleans has been suspended due to inclement weather conditions. Brian Stuard tops the leaderboard at the end of round 2 which finished this morning, before the heavens opened up with a deluge.

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Brian Stuard

Brian topped the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with his completed 2nd round of -4 under par 68, giving him a -12 under par total, and dislodging the two overnight leaders from pole position.

Jaime Lovemark and Johnny Vegas are now tied second, a  stroke behind at -11 under par, with a group of six players sharing  fourth place at 8-under par, Harold Varner 111, Daniel Berger, Byeong-Hun An, Charles Howell 111, Chad Collins and Patrick Rogers.

They are followed by a huge group of twelve players on -7 under par.

As the third round has been completely washed out, it certainly looks like it will be a Monday finish for this tournament.

That wont worry World number ten, Justin Rose, two miserable rounds of even par 72 sees him missing the cut, which was made at -2 under par

                                                                                                                                                                                        

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Johnny Vegas Half-Way Lead with Jamie Lovemark.

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Johnny Vegas shares the half-way lead at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, with Jamie Lovemark, but the second round has been suspended due to darkness.

Vegas moves to the top

Johnny Vegas / getty images

Johnny came back to finish the first round, then carded a -3 under par 69 today in the second, at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, put that with his -8 under 64 from yesterday, for a total of -11 under par.

Johnny was tired after a long day out on the  TPC Louisiana course;

“Long day, I played 30 1/2 holes today.”

“I knew it was going to be an extremely long day, so I just kind of kept the mentality and hit one shot at a time and just played as hard as I can.”

“The course was a little easier this morning with the greens being soft, but the wind picked up in the afternoon, and this course was really hard.”

Jamie surge up the leaderboard with -6 under par 66 today in his second round, after finishing his opening round beforehand, to share the lead at the half-way point at -11 under par.

Jamie was also shattered after his long day;

“Just happy to be alive, it was hot, humid. It’s a tough walk, just soft, so ate a ton, walked slow. Not too bad.”

“I’m going to go sleep, man, find some AC, chill a little bit.”

“I’m staying in town, so get some good food and just kind of relax, watch some basketball.”

1st round leader Brian Stuard is one shot back at -10 under, but has yet to finish his second round, -2 under today so far, he still has six holes to complete, before setting off in the third round.

Harold Varner III was -8 under par after a second round -5 under par 67, and is alone in fourth place. He put his success down to good putting;

“I just think I’m obviously putting better.”

“You get out of a few jams when you chip it bad and you hole a few putts you’re supposed to hole, it just makes it a lot easier.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Brian Stuard Leads Suspended 1st round

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Brian Stuard shoots 64 to lead the suspended 1st round at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Brian Stuard took the clubhouse lead at the Zurich Classic after only needing 21 putts in his first round. (Getty Images/Chris Graythen)

Brian Stuard / getty images

Brian carded a completed -8 under par 64 first round at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, requiring only  21 putts in his bogey-free round at TPC Louisiana. A rain delay of five hours caused havoc with the tournament, with the afternoon starters unable to finish their rounds before darkness fell.

Although Brian was using a new putter, he was dumbfounded as to why he had played so well, telling reporters;

“I wish I knew.”

“It might be in the bag for a while.”

Sitting in second place is Retief Goosen,  at  -7 under par, following his finished bogey free first round 65. The two-time Major winner has not won a  PGA Tour title since the 2009 Valspar Championship, saying that was some time ago now;

“It is a lifetime ago.”

There are five players currently tied in third position, at -5 under par after opening completed rounds of 67, J.J. Henry, Derek Ernst, Geoff Ogilvy, Charles Howell 111 and Patrick Rogers.

J.J. said he was playing well;

“My ball-striking is there, and I feel like I’m hitting the ball as well arguably as I probably ever have.”

“I always say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Seung-Yul Steps Up for First Win

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 Seung-Yul Noh steps up to take his first PGA Tour title, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

Seung-Yul / Getty Images

Seung-Yul stayed calm to post a final round -1 under par 71, and take the Zurich Classic victory with a tournament total of -19 under par, and a two shot margin. The final round was played in some very hostile windy conditions, making it hard to control the ball, driving or putting.

Seung-Yul’s caddie Scott Sajtinac summed it up;

” People knew he was gonna be good, and to finally get a win under your belt will send him in the right direction. He’s just steely, these young guys that are winning right now, they’re just rock-solid under the pump. It’s hard to do, being in control of everything. He was unflappable, he just stays the same. You look at the guys who are contending week-in, week-out on the PGA Tour, they’re unflappable.”

“He’s wise beyond his years for a 22-year-old, it was hard out there. You had to mind your Ps and Qs, and he did it the whole way around essentially. The kid is gonna be good.”

Two other guys who have yet to win on the PGA Tour, finished tied second. Andrew Svoboda carded a -3 under par 69  to finish on -17 under par. and Robert Streb joined him on that score after his last round -2 under par 70.

Jeff Overton settled for fourth place on his own at -16 under par, his closing round of -2 under par 70 helping to ease him up the leaderboard as some of those around him seemed to struggle.

One such struggler was Keegan Bradley, he started the day in the final group, with Seung-Yul but had a very disappointing day, especially with the putter. The ball lipped out at least half a dozen times, it was agonizing to watch. He ended the tournament T8 at -13 under par, after starting with such high hopes of victory, signing for a last round +3 over par 75. He still said he will take the positives from this contest, especially how he rebounded from the triple;

“I took it pretty well, I played really well after that, just a couple of three-putts and a couple of really bad lip-outs, but I take a lot away from being in contention.”

Low round of the day went to Robert Garrigus, who only just made the cut on Friday, posting the best score on Sunday with a -8 under par 64. The round included a 374-yard drive with a tail wind on 18, which he birdied to finish T5 with a  -14 under par score.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Seung-Yul Soars, Ben Backs Up.

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Seung-Yul Noh soars at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans while Ben Martin backs up on the TPC Louisiana course.

No bogeys for Noh at Zurich

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Seung-Yul shot a -7 under par 65 in the third round of the Zurich Classic, sending him to the top of the leaderboard with his tournament score of -18 under par. He has now completed 54 tournament holes without incurring a bogey, and will enjoy a two shot lead at the beginning of play in the final round tomorrow. Great Golf. With stats like these, eight of his approach shots were hit to 10 feet or closer, and he  made seven birdies in posting his second round of 65 this week.

“That’s just this week, that’s why I’ve played three good bogey-free rounds. I was very disappointed in the whole season last year. I learned from that time. I’m very ready for tomorrow.”

His turnaround has come since he hired Scott Sajtinac  to coach him. Scott had some good things to say about his new employer;

“We know the kid’s good. He’s the real deal, it’s just coming together this week. To be able to have that calmness that it takes to win, it comes with age. It’s hard to win out here, let alone without a lot of experience.”

” His iron play is off the charts right now. There are a lot of cross breezes , slightly in, slightly helping, you’ve really got to control the flight of your ball. He’s doing it.”

Keegan Bradley matched that -7 under par third round score of 65, which elevated him up into second place on his own at -16 under par. Just two shots behind the leader, and with them both playing confident golf, tomorrow’s pairing will be a joy to behold.

On Friday Keegan woke up with food poisoning symptoms, it did not stop him from scoring a 66. He said he woke up OK for Saturday, and proved it by carding a third round -7 under par 65.

“ Saturday I woke up, thankfully, a hundred percent, but I felt very, very sick yesterday. I felt so great today, from the first tee to the range to the last hole. I’m most proud this week of where I’ve been mentally on the golf course and how calm I’ve felt.”

Of his coaching with Chuck Cook, Keegan thinks they have it all sorted now;

“We’re done doing much, it’s all just maintenance now. When I’m not in contention, it’s no fun, I love waking up and feeling that energy, getting to the first tee and the bigger crowds.”

Robert Streb is alone in third place at -15 under par, he carded a third round -4 under par 68.

Ben Martin had raced to the lead shooting a course-record -10 under par 62 in his first round, then followed that with his 36-hole score of 129 also a course record. He started the day badly carding a bogey 6 on the second hole, and never really recovered as the others moved away from him. He finished the day recording a +1 over par 73 and backing up into a tie for fourth place with Jeff Overton and Andrew Svoboda.

Paul Casey arrived here on Tuesday morning, he had to travel to Los Angeles to square away his green card first. By the time he arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday afternoon, he was too tired to get out and walk the course. On top of that he had a 7 a.m. tee time in Round 1. He carded a third round -8 under par 64, and explained it like this;

“I’m really just winging it completely blind, but it’s paid off. I’m trying not to learn the course, I’m trying to stay kind of, ‘Ignorance is bliss’ out there. I know his courses and I know how he thinks and I feel very, very comfortable around them. I’m not sure I’ll continue the trend of skipping practice rounds, but it’s fared well so far this week.”

“I know how to win a golf tournament, I feel very much over all the injuries and the struggles that I’ve had. So tomorrow is just a really exciting day for me.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Ben Martin Marches On

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Ben Martin marches on in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana staying on top of the leaderboard at the end of day 2.

Martin remains hot on Friday, builds lead at Zurich Classic

Ben Martin / Getty Images

Ben added a second round -5 under par 67 to his first round record breaking 62, to remain at the top of the leaderboard in the Zurich Classic, with a 15 under par total for his 36 holes. That score easily beats the 36-hole scoring record at TPC Louisiana. He has increased his lead over the field to three shots, and is sure he could not have done any better, even though he has been receiving coaching from the Big Man upstairs;

“Overall, I don’t think it could have gone much better. I started thinking ahead a little bit and I thought, man, maybe I can do this again. Yesterday I really felt like I stayed in the moment on every shot, I wasn’t worried about what had happened previously or what was coming up. I wanted to just try to do that again on the second nine.”

“I have a scripture written in my yardage book from Galatians 6 and it kind of talks about basing your performance on how you’re working and not worrying about what anybody else is doing. So I’ve been reading that constantly throughout the round. I’m going to go do what I’ve got to do, and we’ll add them up at the end.”

Andrew Svoboda is still in second place, three shots off the pace with second round -4 under par 68, and a -12 under par total.

Seung-Yul Noh and Robert Streb are tied in third at -11 under par for the tournament. Seung-Yul also carded a -4 under par second round while Robert signed for a very respectable -6 under par 66.

 

David Duval has made the cut and is making good progress, his opening rounds of 68-69 , the first time since August 2011 that he has opened a tournament with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He reported that it was a gutsy performance;

“Today was a little guttier, I hit the ball a little better yesterday, but all I know is I have this day. Even after yesterday’s round everybody was talking about winning the golf tournament. I’ve got to get to the weekend first.”

“I have a good opportunity, but at the same time my game plan doesn’t change, I’ve got this weekend. That’s what I’ve got right now, for the foreseeable future.”

Another big name Ernie Els did not make the cut, missing out by just one shot. He was joined by defending champion Billy Horschel, and surprisingly Rickie Fowler.

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

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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.”