Birdie run gives lead to Aussie

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT -

AUS­TRALIAN Cameron Smith and Swe­den’s Jonas Blixt, lib­er­ated by Fri­day’s best-ball for­mat, have com­bined for a 10-un­der-par 62 to grab the half­way lead at the Zurich Clas­sic team tour­na­ment at TPA Louisiana.

Blixt and Smith stood at 15un­der-par 129 for a one-stroke lead over Amer­i­cans Pa­trick Reed, the US Ry­der Cup spark plug who feeds off team play, and Pa­trick Cant­lay, who also put to­gether a 62 de­spite gusty winds out­side New Or­leans.

Nu­mer­ous teams went low, but none lower than South Africans Retief Goosen and Ty­rone Van Aswe­gan, who posted a 12-un­der 60 to cat­a­pult up the leader­board on 11 un­der-par 133 af­ter a bo­geyfree round that fea­tured 10 birdies and an ea­gle.

Af­ter the open­ing round of four­somes (al­ter­nate shot), play­ing best-ball freed up the play­ers to play more ag­gres­sively in the first team event on the PGA Tour in 36 years.

“I think we just trust each other’s game and that makes us be able to go at the pins and be ag­gres­sive,” Blixt said. “Cam has my back and I have his and that makes it easy.

“There’s 18 holes and I feel like we can both make birdies on each hole and try to make as many as we can.”

Smith gave most of the credit to the Swede.

“Jonas is play­ing re­ally well at the mo­ment so I can just play ag­gres­sive,” he said.

Tied for third two shots off the pace were South Kore­ans KJ Choi and Char­lie Wi, who came out of re­tire­ment to play, along with Amer­i­cans Troy Mer­ritt and Robert Streb.

Lurk­ing three shots off the pace in a share of fifth were world No.5 Jor­dan Spi­eth and fel­low Amer­i­can Ryan Palmer.

Euro­pean Ry­der Cup team­mates Hen­rik Sten­son and Justin Rose missed the cut by a stroke but still fin­ished a shot bet­ter than Ja­son Day and his part­ner Rickie Fowler.

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