Blixt, Smith surge ahead in second round of Zurich Classic

AVONDALE, La. — 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.

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.

The four-ball format has each member of a two-man team playing his own ball throughout a round, with only the best score on each hole recorded. The same format will be used Sunday. The first and third rounds have an alternate-shot format.

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

The change from the alternate-shot approach produced much lower scores Friday, even as heavy winds impacted the TPC Louisiana course.

The Blixt-Smith, Reed-Cantlay and Merritt-Streb duos were among five teams to post a 62. Tyrone Van Aswegen and Retief Goosen teamed up for a 60 to get to 11-under for the tournament.

“We just blended so well today,” Van Aswegen said. “I made birdie and then he made birdie. It was great. It was a privilege out there.”

Those extraordinary low scores caused the two first-round leaders to fall off the pace a bit.

Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer had posted a 66 in the first round to share the lead with the Ryan Ruffels-Kyle Stanley duo. Both teams posted a 66 again Friday and fell into a six-way tie for fifth place.

Canadian pair Graham DeLaet and David Hearn shot a 66 in the second round to enter a tie for 32nd at 7-under par. Countrymen Nick Taylor and Mackenzie Hughes Missed the cut at 2 under despite shooting a 67 on the day. They weren’t able to overcome their first-round score of 75.

With strong winds expected again as the tournament returns to alternate shots, the scores likely won’t be nearly as favourable.

“Certainly off of (Thursday’s) round, we know that we can have success in that format,” Spieth said. “We also know we need to set expectations a bit different. We had prime scoring conditions yesterday, and tomorrow it will be a bit like today or even more challenging. Anything under par in alternate-shot is a great score tomorrow.”

The Zurich Classic was a standard individual tournament until changing formats this year. This marks the PGA Tour’s first official team event since the 1981 Disney Classic.

Two of the higher-profile teams in this new format weren’t able to advance to Saturday’s third round. Justin Rose and Henrik Stetson ended up at 6-under to miss the cut by one shot. Jason Day and Rickie Fowler also missed the cut at 5-under.

“I think the format is a unique format,” Day said. “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 flavour to the PGA Tour.”

Just Posted

911 operator helps Red Deer couple during birth

Meet for the first time Thursday

Canada’s 150 year ends on ice, but no hockey pucks, triple jumps allowed

OTTAWA — No figure skating. No hockey. No racing. No cell phones.… Continue reading

Banner signing at Collicutt Centre

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Regulator investigating Sears Canada liquidation sale prices: monitor

TORONTO — The Competition Bureau is investigating allegations that prices on some… Continue reading

Video: Joshua Frank explains shooting Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus

Frank and Jason Klaus are facing triple murder charges in the deaths Klaus’ parents and sister

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month