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Barnes leads in New Orleans

Last updated: 26th April 2013

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Ricky Barnes: First round leader

Ricky Barnes: First round leader

Ricky Barnes made birdies on six of the last eight holes to claim a one-shot lead after the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Thursday.

The 32-year-old American's opening round of 64 included seven birdies, an eagle and a single bogey to finish one stroke ahead of compatriots Boo Weekley and Lucas Glover.

Fellow Americans D.A. Points and Morgan Hoffmann both shot 66s to finish another stroke further behind after the first round at the rain-softened TPC Louisiana course.

"Today it was nice because it was a pretty stress-free round. I think I only had to chip once in 18 holes so that's nice," Barnes, who only arrived at the tournament on Wednesday after witnessing the birth of his daughter on Monday, commented after his round.

The 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang, who is competing in New Orleans on a sponsor's exemption, carded an even-par 72, with a five-wood hit to within a foot of the cup on the 17th the highlight of his round.

"I think I played pretty good golf," the teenager noted.

"Not the best but I made some ups and downs and a couple birdies."

Ernie Els and Ricky Fowler head a group of 10 players who carded 67s to finish the round three shots behind Barnes, while defending champion Jason Duffner made 70 and former Masters champion and 2011 winner in New Orleans Bubba Watson shot 73.

In excellent scoring conditions on a day that players were allowed to lift clean and place their golf balls in the fairways due to the recent, heavy rain, 84 players went under par while 30 are within four strokes of the lead.

While Barnes missed the cut in seven of his last eight events, he started Thursday's proceedings with an eagle on the par-five second after hitting his three-wood approach to within 12 feet of the cup.

"That kind of got the round going," Barnes continued.

"I was three under (after a birdie at the fourth) and those are the kind of starts I need."

After their battle in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage, the stage seems to be set for another Glover-Barnes exhibition at the TPC Louisiana course.

In New York four years ago, Barnes and Glover were competing for the lead of the US Open for the last three rounds, with Glover eventually taking control during the final round to win his only major to date.

Glover made birdies on the final two holes on Thursday and was happy with his round over all.

"Any time you can climb up the board in the afternoon, it feels pretty good. I hit it like I've been hitting it and finally putted well," the former US Open champion noted.

Weekley was also pleased with his efforts after he made a 27-foot birdie putt on the final hole to move into a tie for second place.

"It was good. It could have gotten real good if some of them putts would have fallen early in the round," Weekley said.

"I left at least four on the front side that were good birdie putts. I had good looks at them."



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