Two teams share first-round lead at Zurich Classic

Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

The two-man teams of Wyndham Clark-Beau Hossler and Sean O’Hair-Brandon Matthews took advantage of the four-ball format to share the first-round lead Thursday at the Zurich Classic in Avondale, La.

The only team-based tournament on the PGA Tour schedule, the Zurich Classic uses a four-ball (best-ball) format in the first and third rounds, and foursomes (alternate shot) in the second and final rounds.

“We played nice, both of us played nicely, and to be honest, looking back on it, we probably ham-and-egged it just about perfect, right?” said Hossler of the 11-under-par 61 that he and Clark carded at TPC Louisiana.

There are five teams tied for third at 10 under, including brothers Matt and Alex Fitzpatrick of England. Matt Fitzpatrick won the RBC Heritage on Sunday on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Alex Fitzpatrick is making his second career start on the PGA Tour.

Hossler got the first-time teammates started with a birdie at the par-4 first hole, and he contributed birdies at Nos. 6, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 16.

Clark picked him up with birdies at No. 3, 7, 15 and 18 as well as a par on the par-4 No. 10 to erase Hossler’s bogey.

“We took advantage of the hardest holes, which is not easy to do out here,” Hossler said of TPC Louisiana. “With that said, I think also we left a couple out there that, hopefully, we can get in the next few days.”

O’Hair and Matthews, also first-time teammates, tore through the course with a 30 on the front nine and a 31 on the back nine, including Matthews’ eagle on the par-4 12th hole.

The duo made four straight birdies from Nos. 2-5, then added birdies at Nos. 7, 8, 11, 13 and 18. O’Hair’s bogey at No. 3 disappeared with Matthews’ birdie.

“Well, (Matthews) played really well,” O’Hair said. “I just kind of filled the gaps. The way he hits the driver is unbelievable, and it just puts him in so many good scoring positions. It was fun to watch, really.

“He hit some incredible wedges, and I think for me it was just kind of like just stay out of his way and let him do his thing. But it was a fun round. … I kind of picked up on a few holes, and that’s all I could really ask for.”

Joining the Fitzpatricks in the tie for third at 10 under are the teams of David Lipsky and England’s Aaron Rai, Keith Mitchell and South Korea’s Sungjae Im, Luke List and Sweden’s Henrik Norlander, and Michael Kim and South Korea’s S.Y. Noh.

Defending champions Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay are tied for 56th at 5-under 67. Schauffele birdied Nos. 7, 8, 11 and 16, but bogeyed 15 and 17. Cantlay birdied Nos. 10, 12 and 13 but made bogey at the par-4 No. 6.

Of the 80 teams, 79 finished at 1-under 71 or better. The lone duo above par were major champions John Daly and David Duval, who came in at 3-over 75.

–Field Level Media

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