Swaf­ford, Week­ley top Zurich Clas­sic leader­board

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY BRETT MAR­TEL

Hud­son Swaf­ford didn’t want to dwell on the pres­sure of the high­stakes week­end that awaits him.

Tied for the Zurich Clas­sic lead af­ter a 6-un­der 66 on Fri­day in the suspended sec­ond round, the 2011 Ge­or­gia grad­u­ate was ea­ger to meet some col­lege friends from New Or­leans and take ad­van­tage of be­ing in Louisiana dur­ing craw­fish sea­son.

Boo Week­ley also was tied for the lead at 11 un­der when play was suspended ay at TPC Louisiana be­cause of the threat of se­vere thun­der­storms. Week­ley, tied for first-round lead af­ter a 64, had three holes left.

Ja­son Day, ranked sixth in the world, was 5 un­der for the round through 14 holes, pulling him into a five-way tie for third at 10 un­der with Bran­don de Jonge, Cameron Tringale, for­mer Zurich cham­pion Jerry Kelly and Daniel Berger. Tringale had a 65, and de Jonge shot 70. Kel­ley was on the 18th green when play was stopped, and Berger had three holes left.

Sec­ond-round play was sched­uled to re­sume Satur­day at 8 a.m. CDT.

De Jonge, from Zim­babwe, was the co-leader af­ter the first round and might have re­mained atop the leader­board had he not nar­rowly missed sev­eral putts. But he was briefly tied for the lead again late in his morn­ing round when he hit his tee shot within a few feet of the pin on the par-3 17th and made his birdie putt. He nar­rowly missed an­other birdie putt on 18.

De Jonge, who has more than 220 PGA Tour starts with­out a victory, is well aware that seven of the past 10 Zurich Clas­sics have con­cluded with first- time Tour win­ners, and hopes to con­tinue that trend.

The field re­mained tightly packed with birdies seem­ingly harder to come by on Fri­day. Many play­ers cited a com­bi­na­tion of wind, soggy turf from re­cent rains and thick, swampy air as rea­sons the course to play even longer than usual.

Six play­ers were tied for eighth, just two shots off the lead. They were Chad Camp­bell, Mor­gan Hoffman, Steven Bowditch, Justin Thomas, Chris Stroud and David Hearn.

Seven more play­ers were at eight un­der, in­clud­ing Marc Leish­man, who re­turned to the PGA Tour this week­end af­ter tak­ing a month off from golf to tend to fam­ily when his wife be­came gravely ill.

With his wife, Au­drey, re­cov­er­ing, Leish­man came to New Or­leans say­ing he just wanted to “knock off some rust.” He did a lot bet­ter than that and is now in line for a nice pay-day, given of­fi­cials were es­ti­mat­ing the cut line at four un­der.

Leish­man was 10 un­der for the round through 17 holes, putting him in po­si­tion to set a course record with a birdie on the par-5 18th. But af­ter a boom­ing drive, Leish­man gam­bled on an ag­gres­sive sec­ond shot, us­ing his driver on the fair­way. He pushed his ball to the right and into a wa­ter haz­ard. When play was stopped, he was on the fringe, ly­ing four, need­ing to sink his next shot on Satur­day morn­ing to tie the course record of 62.

Week­ley, a three-time PGA Tour win­ner, con­tin­ued to play well with new shafts that he cred­ited for a strong first round af­ter miss­ing the cut in three of his pre­vi­ous four tour­na­ments.

Swaf­ford, in only his sec­ond sea­son on the tour, had six birdies dur­ing his sec­ond round.

His best fin­ish is tied for eighth at the Frys.com Open last Oc­to­ber, though his most im­pres­sive out­ing may have been at last month’s Arnold Palmer in­vi­ta­tional at Bay Hill, where he tied for 11th.

Swaf­ford said he has been gain­ing con­fi­dence since ad­just­ing his back swing ear­lier this year and fig­ured he’d con­tend for a win be­fore long.


Hud­son Swaf­ford watches his tee shot on the 18th hole dur­ing the sec­ond round of the Zurich Clas­sic PGA golf tour­na­ment on Fri­day, April 24.

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