Atwal-Kiradech trail far behind as Hovland-Ventura take share of lead

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New Orleans, Apr 23 (PTI) A birdie each by Arjun Atwal and Kiradech Aphibarnrat was a morale booster but they were still way behind after the opening day of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the only team event on the PGA Tour.

The India-Thai pair shot one-under 71 and were Tied-77th as Norwegians Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura shot 10-under 62 to share the lead with Brice Garnett and Scott Stalings.

Korea's KH Lee partnering Kyle Stanley shot nine-under 63 to be Tied-third with seven other pairs.

The format of the tournament requires the pairs to play Four-ball in first and third rounds, while the second and final rounds see foursomes.

In four-ball format each golfer plays his own ball and team's score on each hole is the lower of the two players' scores and only one of a pair is required to complete each hole. In foursomes, the players hit alternate shots.

Beginning on the 10th, Atwal-Kiradech had three birdies. After a bogey start on 10th, Kiradech's par putts on 14th and 15th saved them from further damages.

On the 16th, as Kiradech went into water Atwal hit a great drive and fine pitch for a birdie from five feet.

On 18th, Kiradech birdied and the pair turned in 1-under.

On the second nine, both bogeyed the first and then both birdied the second. Kiradech saved the pair from another bogey with a par save on ninth.

As for the leaders, Garnett and Stallings birdied eight of the last 11 holes, while Ventura and Hovland, the only Norwegians on the PGA TOUR, and playing the event for the first time, birdied nine of their final 12 holes in a super display.

Seven teams shot 63, including two-time Zurich champion Billy Horschel and his teammate, Louisiana native and former LSU player Sam Burns.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans switched from individual stroke play to the two-man team format in 2017. PTI COR ATK ATK