News: Most successful partnerships made a pact this week at the Zurich Classic.
Jordan Spieth showed off his short game. Ryan Palmer contributed momentum-saving par putts. They turned out to be quite the team Thursday in the Zurich Classic, the first official team event on the PGA Tour in 36 years.
Spieth hit a bump-and-run from 100 feet to a front pin to set up birdie on the par-5 11th, chipped in for birdie on the 14th, and closed out their foursomes round with a 15-foot birdie for a 6-under 66 to share the lead with 18-year-old Ryan Ruffels and Kyle Stanley.
Nick Watney made a 60-foot eagle putt from off the 18th green for eagle as he and Charley Hoffman were among four teams at 67 in alternate shot.
Even in the tough alternate-shot format, 43 of the 80 teams broke par at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, with 18 teams in the 60s.
Most players agree that alternate shot is the format that can lose teams the tournament – they fire a bad score and get lapped – while fourballs, to be played Friday and Sunday, is the format that can win the event.
Tuesday was the first time that the 18-year-old Ruffels had ever played alternate shot. It was hard to tell in the opening round, when he and Stanley made eight birdies, including four in a row to start, to share the early lead.
“I found it quite easy,” Ruffels said, “because whether the shot is good or bad, you don’t have to worry about the next shot. You can go up there, freewheel it, and think, I want to hit a good one here, but if I don’t, Kyle has to deal with it.
“We made a mutual agreement that we weren’t going to say sorry. We’re both trying our hardest on each shot, and we were going to hit bad ones and good ones.”
But deep down, they’re praying for more of the latter.
Hur leads LPGA
Lexi Thompson shot a 2-under 69 in her first LPGA Tour round since a rules violation cost her a likely victory in the first major tournament of the year, leaving her four strokes behind leader M.J. Hur in the North Texas LPGA Shootout.
Hur had a bogey-free 65 on a blustery, sunny day at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. Ariya Jutanugarn and Michelle Wie were a stroke back along with Katherine Kirk, Jennifer Song, Sung Hyun Park, Sandra Changkija and Marina Alex.
Source: Golf Channel