Blixt, Smith Rocket to Top at Zurich Classic

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Cameron Smith of Australia and Jonas Blixt of Sweden walk up the 9th fairway during the second round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2017 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith posted a 10-under 62 in Friday’s four-ball format to move into the lead at the Zurich Classic, which is in its first year of a new team format.

Cameron Smith of Australia and Jonas Blixt of Sweden walk up the 9th fairway during the second round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2017 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Blixt and Smith have a two-day total of 15-under 129 to lead by one over Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay. The K.J Choi-Charlie Wi and Troy Merritt-Robert Streb pairings are tied for third at 13-under.[1]


Power Duos Crash

When the Zurich Classic announced a new two-man team format in November, two powerhouse teams immediately emerged: Jason Day-Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson-Justin Rose.

At TPC Louisiana, neither team will be playing on the weekend.

Rose and Stenson had the more spectacular crash of the two. After rallying to get to within one shot of the projected cutline (7-under 137), the pair needed only a birdie at the par-5 18th to get through to the weekend. Both players hit drives long enough to give themselves a look at the green – and first Stenson, from 265 yards (4-wood), and then Rose (254, 1-iron) deposited second shots into the water guarding the right edge of the putting surface.[2]


Top 10

1 Blixt/Smith -15
2 Reed/Cantlay -14
3 Choi/Wi -13
3 Merritt/Streb -13
5 Stuard/Stroud -12
5 Cejka/Kjeldsen -12
5 Hoffman/Watney -12
5 Spieth/Palmer -12
5 Schauffele/Ridings -12
5 Stanley/Ruffels -12


Notables

11 Dufner/Kizzire -11
14 Hoffmann/Villegas -10
14 Thomas/Cauley -10
14 Stricker/Kelly -10
23 Ogilvy/Poulter -9
23 Matsuyama/Tanihara -9
32 Watson/Holmes -7
32 Grace/Oosthuizen -7
CUT Rose/Stenson -6
CUT Day/Fowler -5
CUT Berger/Pieters -3


Quotables

Jonas is playing really well at the moment. You know he’s going to make a birdie or par, so I’m just playing aggressive and letting it all fall into play.”
Cameron Smith

“I think the format is a unique format. Missing the cut is not what we wanted, but walking away from this, I think they’re heading in the right direction with regards to a different format that adds more flavor to the PGA Tour.”
Jason Day


Historic Penalty

It took the PGA Tour’s first official team event in 36 years to produce the first slow-play penalty since 1995. Brian Campbell and Miguel Angel Carballo were hit with a 1-stroke penalty at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The penalty came in the first round during alternate shot play. Typically a player gets a warning before a 1-stroke penalty is issued but the PGA Tour said this extends to partners in a team event — likely leading to the penalty, as both players got bad times. This is the first official team event since the Disney Classic in 1981 and the first slow-play penalty since Glen Day at the 1995 Honda Classic. The Masters also gave 14 year old amateur Tianlang Guan a penalty for slow play in 2013.[3]


Sources

1. Associated Press
Blixt-Smith team surge into Zurich lead

2. Golfweek
Pair of Powerhouse Teams Miss the Cut at Zurich Classic

3. ESPN
Pair of golfers at Zurich Classic hit with first slow-play penalty since 1995


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