Martin on fire in New Orleans
The unheralded Ben Martin has a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Zurich Classic in New Orleans courtesy of a scintillating course-record ten-under-par 62 at the $6.8 million event.
The blistering start means the 26-year-old American is now a 5/4 favourite with Paddy Power to walk away with the title come Sunday.
Martin lies two shots ahead of fellow American Andrew Svoboda and three ahead of Swede Peter Hanson and Seung-Yul Noh of South Korea.
His impressive scorecard included ten birdies and no bogeys as he tamed the gusty afternoon winds.
Martin started fast and was six under on the front nine. He added further birdies at ten, eleven and thirteen and when he chipped in for his final birdie from 55 feet on the par three 17th, it simply added the icing on the cake.
“Awesome way to start,” Martin told the PGA Tour website.
“The ball was going where I was looking and it seemed like the putts were falling in just like I was seeing them.
“Really, everything was working well. I had a pretty good start and just kept it rolling. It was just one of those days, just like you draw it up.”
Martin’s round is the lowest score on tour since world number two Adam Scott also shot a 62 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March.
The South Carolinian finished a career best tied for third place finish at the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head last weekend. However, before that, Martin missed seven out of eight cuts and was in a bit of a crisis.
In an effort to change things up, he started seeing a sports psychologist and hired a good friend as his caddie. The change seems to have worked.
Meanwhile, Hanson, whose round included an eagle on the par four sixth, is attempting to find the form that saw him reach world number 19 in 2012. A back injury left him off the course for a few months last year.
“I know all about what Tiger’s going through,” said the 36-year-old, referring to Tiger Woods who recently had back surgery.
“I’m trying to play a little more relaxed. I managed to make a few putts going out and then had a bit of a jackpot coming in with a two on a really tough hole.”
Check out the the latest betting odds with Paddy Power for all the latest golf betting options.
Collin Morikawa wins Race to Dubai as Rory McIlroy’s frustrations boil over
The Northern Irishman appeared to rip his shirt open in the recording area behind the 18th green.
Tiger Woods shares footage of him hitting balls as rehab continues
Woods was injured in a car accident in February.
Rory McIlroy takes one-shot lead into final round in Dubai after shooting a 67
England’s Sam Horsfield is just a shot off the lead, one ahead of Scot Robert MacIntyre.
Double bogey on final hole sees Rory McIlroy slip shot off the pace in Dubai
The round one leader is a shot behind Ryder Cup team-mate Shane Lowry, England’s Sam Horsfield and American John Catlin.
I’m on the right path – Rory McIlroy excited about road to next majors challenge
McIlroy is now a combined 148 under par in the £6.6million season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
Open champion Collin Morikawa determined to take chances in Race to Dubai bid
Morikawa had the chance to top the Order of Merit by winning last year’s DP World Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy unlikely to change schedule despite new-look European Tour
The European Tour will be known as the DP World Tour from the 2022 season but Florida-based McIlroy will continue to focus on the PGA Tour.
Punter’s pointers at the DP World Tour Championship: Course and desert specialists to the fore
It’s the final week of the 2021 European Tour season and the best 50 players of the season are convening at Jumeirah’s Earth Course.
JB Hansen wins AVIV Dubai Championship to claim second European Tour title
The Dane finished a shot clear of Italy’s Francesco Laporta and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger.