Lightning start

Dave Tindall
Trey Mullinax/Scott Stallings shot 61 to lead the Zurich Classic but half the field is yet to start after lightning caused a length delay on day one.
Trey Mullinax/Scott Stallings shot 61 to lead the Zurich Classic but half the field is yet to start after lightning caused a length delay on day one.

Recap of the day

Morning wave: It was a fun watch for the first few hours with birdies galore in the fourball format. And then… the dreaded hooter and play halted due to lightning in the area. At the time, Joel Dahmen and Brandon Harkins led the way on -6 after 9, a shot ahead of Danny Lee/Sung Kang (9 holes), Martin Laird/Nick Taylor (9) and Brice Garnett/Chesson Hadley (8). Initially, the resumption was due for 1:10pm local CT until lightning moved back into the area and the delay became extended.

Afternoon wave: The wait was to last seven hours and 33 minutes before the players returned in late afternoon. The flow of birdies soon resumed but only 13 of the 80 two-man teams got finished. Leading the way were Scott Stallings & Trey Mullinax, who combined for an 11-under 61, a shot clear of Martin Laird & Nick Taylor and Brian Gay & Rory Sabbatini. Play was finally suspended at 7:35pm and will resume Friday at 7:00am. The original Thursday afternoon wave will finally get underway at 7:15am.

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R1 leaderboard: -11 Scott Stallings/Trey Mullinax (F), -10 Martin Laird/Nick Taylor (F), Brian Gay/Rory Sabbatini (after 14), -9 Joel Dahmen/Brandon Harkins (F).

Selected others: -7 Jason Day/Adam Scott (16), Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer (16), Branden Grace/Justin Harding (15), -6 Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes, -4 Sergio Garcia/Tommy Fleetwood (15).

Yet to start: Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, Henrik Stenson/Graeme McDowell, Billy Horschel/Scott Piercy, Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith.


Revised betting: 7/1 Day Scott, 11/1 Brown/Kisner, 14/1 Gay/Sabbatini, Rahm/Palmer, Stallings/Mullinax, 16/1 Cantlay/Reed, Finau/Stanley, Holmes/Watson, 20/1 Horschel/Piercy, Laird/Taylor.


Friday weather forecast

Good news. After the lengthy delay on day one, the weather looks set to behave for the rest of the week with a nice mix of sunshine and cloud and pleasant temperatures creeping into the early 80s. Winds are set to blow at 7-10mph in Friday’s second round. Foursomes will help speed up play in round two.


Leaders after 18 holes

Scott Stallings/Trey Mullinax (61) – Out in 29 and back in 32. Mullinax did most of the heavy lifting with seven of their 11 birdies.

Martin Laird/Nick Taylor (62) – The Scotsman and the Canadian also racked up 11 birdies (six from Taylor) although threw in a careless bogey at the third.

Brian Gay/Rory Sabbatini (-10 after 14) – The two vets will return Friday with four holes to play and a chance to post the new lead. Combined for just one birdie in the first four holes but then made par breakers on nine of the next 10.


Fate of the favorites

Jason Day/Adam Scott (-7 after 16) – Not quite the fireworks we expected from the Aussie pre-tournament betting favourites but still have two holes to complete and can push nearer the lead. Day led the way with five of their seven birdies.

Tommy Fleetwood/Sergio Garcia (-4 after 15) – The two Euros, both Zurich ambassadors, finished the day seven back and will want to make the most of their final three holes. Sergio just 1-under for their 15 holes.

Patrick Cantlay/Patrick Reed – Yet to start

Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm (-7 after 16) – Six birdies from Palmer and just a single contribution from Rahm.



Trey Mullinax: “We both played solid all day, missed a couple of putts, short ones, but made a couple long ones, as well, so we both putted really well. Scott was really good with his wedges. The last couple holes got us in there with some birdies on some par 5s, and I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of holes we could take advantage of and knocking the putts in. We play a lot of practice rounds. Scott has been a very good mentor to me, been a great friend, awesome guy.”

Brandon Harkins: (On how often he plays with Dahmen) “Every day, every practice round. We've been best friends for seven, eight years now. We met in Canada on the Mackenzie TOUR, live in Scottsdale, bought our houses about the same time.”


Road to victory at TPC Louisiana

2018 Billy Horschel/Scott Piercy – R1: 41st, R2: 49th, R3: 9th
2017 Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith – R1: 5th, R2: 1st, R3: 1st

Notes: Two years of the pairs format and two very different paths to victory. Horschel and Piercy were down in T49 and seven shots back at halfway before storming through to win with rounds of 61 and 67. But Blixt and Smith were up with the pace all the way, lying just one back after 18 holes and tied at the top on days two and three.


Fate of the 18-hole leaders at TPC Louisiana – where did they finish?

2018 Lucas Glover/Chez Reavie – 22nd, Zecheng Dou/Xinjun Zhang - MC
2017 Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer – 4th, Ryan Ruffels/Kyle Stanley – 29th

Notes: Last year, Glover and Reavie fell back although still cracked the top 25. But the Chinese pair of Dou and Zhang had a nightmare on day two, shooting 80 in alternate-shot and missing the cut. In 2017, Spieth and Palmer kept up their challenge to finish fourth but Ruffels and Stanley dropped to tied 29th. In such a volatile format, fast starts are only of limited value.

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