BLIXT, SMITH PULL AWAY

Duo are four strokes ahead af­ter flaw­less third round

New Straits Times - - Sport -

JONAS Blixt and Cameron Smith pro­duced a bo­geyfree four-un­der par 68 on Satur­day, stretch­ing their lead to four strokes en­ter­ing the fi­nal round of the Zurich Clas­sic of New Or­leans.

Swe­den’s Blixt and Aus­tralia’s Smith have played 54 holes with­out a bo­gey at TPC Louisiana, where the for­mat of two-man teams is a first on the US PGA Tour in 36 years.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how many bo­geys you make if you’re in the lead,” said Blixt, a two-time win­ner on the US tour.

“I’m very happy about the way we played.”

“Ku­dos to you,” Blixt said in turn­ing to his part­ner, who is seek­ing a first PGA Tour ti­tle.

“You played some re­ally good golf com­ing in — there were some re­ally hard shots into the wind there.”

Satur­day’s al­ter­nate shot for­mat didn’t pro­duce the siz­zling scores seen in bet­ter ball play on Fri­day — when Blixt and Smith com­bined for a 62 to seize a on­e­stroke lead.

Through 54 holes, they were four in front of two all-US duos: Kevin Kis­ner and Scott Brown, who posted a 67; and Charley Hoff­man and Nick Wat­ney, who carded a 69.

For­mer World No 1 Jor­dan Spi­eth and fel­low Texan Ryan Palmer were a fur­ther stroke back af­ter a 70 for 202.

Blixt and Smith started strong with birdies at the sec­ond and third.

They picked up two more strokes with birdies at 15 and 18 — where Blixt’s 123-yard third shot left Smith a tap-in.

Kis­ner and Brown opened with nine pars be­fore com­ing alive on the back nine with six birdies and a bo­gey.

Hoff­man and Wat­ney made the last of their four birdies at 18, where Hoff­man sank a five-foot putt as they bounced back from their lone bo­gey at 15 to grab a share of sec­ond.

“We hit some good shots to give our­selves chances,” Hoff­man said. “In this for­mat, even a good par can give you mo­men­tum, but it was nice to make a birdie on the last.

“To shoot 69 in these con­di­tions, we’re cer­tainly happy.” AFP

AP PIC

Haru No­mura fist bumps her cad­die Ja­son McDede in the third round of the LPGA Texas Shootout on Satur­day.

AP PIC

Jonas Blixt (right) con­grat­u­lates team­mate Cameron Smith af­ter they birdied the 18th in the third round of the Zurich Clas­sic on Satur­day.

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