Thursday's golf: Cantlay, Schauffele open with 59 to lead Zurich Classic
Avondale, La. — Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are a good team even when they're playing for cash and not just a flag.
Cantlay holed a 25-foot eagle putt early and chipped in from 40 feet for birdie late, while Schauffele contributed six birdies of his own, and their three straight birdies to close gave them a 13-under 59 in fourballs Thursday to lead the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
It set a tournament record since the Zurich Classic switched to team play in 2017, and the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup partners were willing to claim a piece of golf's magic number.
“I haven't done it before. I don't think Pat has, either. I'll count in my book,” Schauffele said.
They had a one-shot lead over the team of Matthew NeSmith and Taylor Moore. The group at 61 included Robert Garrigus and Tommy Gainey, and Aaron Rai and David Lipsky, two teams that have had their share of activity off the course.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Ryan Palmer were five shots behind at 64.
The second round moves to foursomes, and while alternate is the more difficult of the format, Cantlay and Schauffele have put together a 4-0 mark in their partnerships at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne and he 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
Moore was lucky to have much strength at all
He was in the emergency room Wednesday morning from food poisoning, got some fluids and nausea medicine and finally was able to keep some food down Thursday morning.
“Just tried to finish every hole,” Moore said. “That was kind of a win within its own right.”
Lipsky avoided the hospital, though he was involved in a car accident earlier in the week. Turns out there was a car in front of him that had broken down, and as Lipsky went to change lanes he said the driver behind him slammed on the brakes and hit him.
“I'm all right. I think the other two drivers were fine,” Lipsky said. “Yeah, I was a little bit of a hectic beginning to the week.”
The surprise was Garrigus and Gainey, both sponsor exemptions, joining the group at 61. Garrigus was in the news earlier in the week when Golfweek reported and Golf Channel confirmed with Garrigus that he is applying for a conflicting event release to play in the first Saudi-funded LIV Golf competition.
The PGA Tour has until May 10 to decide whether to grant him a release to play in London a week before the U.S. Open. The top players — that would not include Garrigus, whose world ranking is at No. 1,043 — have said they are not interested in the Greg Norman-run league offering a $20 million purse and $4 million to the winner.
Garrigus told Golf Channel that he was focused only on the Zurich Classic, and plenty of focus appeared to be in place. Gainey contributed six birdies, while Garrigus had five.
Los Angeles — Alison Lee shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday afternoon at breezy Wilshire Country Club to take the first-round lead in the DIO Implant LA Open.
The resurgent former UCLA star had the lone bogey-free round of the day in testing conditions with the wind gusting to 25 mph to start the LPGA Tour's two-week run in the Los Angeles area, with the Palos Verdes Championship next week.
Lee birdied the par-4 sixth and par-3 seventh on the front nine, then moved up the leaderboard with birdies on the par-3 12th, par-5 15th and par-4 16th. She saved par on the final two holes, making a 6-footer on the par-4 17th and blasting out of the front bunker for a tap-in on the par-3 18th.
The 27-year-old American is trying to win for the first time on the LPGA Tour.
Fellow afternoon starter Emma Talley and morning players Nasa Hataoka and Emily Kristine Pedersen were a stroke back.
Talley had the lead at 5 under before dropping back with a bogey on the par-4 eighth, her 17th hole of the day. The 28-year-old from Kentucky is winless on the tour. She won the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur and took the 2015 NCAA individual title at Alabama.
Hataoka closed with a birdie on 18. The 23-year-old Japanese player had seven birdies and three bogeys. She has five LPGA Tour victories, winning twice last season.
Pedersen had five birdies and a bogey. The 23-year-old from Denmark is winless on the tour.
Sei Young Kim and So Yeon Ryu were at 68 with Jennifer Song, Haylee Harford, Janie Jackson and Dewi Weber. They all played in the morning.
Top-ranked Jin Young Ko had a 71 in the morning. Defending champion Brooke Henderson, playing alongside Ko, opened with a 76. She had a triple bogey on the par-3 fourth.
Patty Tavatanakit had a double bogey on No. 16 in a 73 in the afternoon.
Former Southern California player Allisen Corpuz and Amy Olson aced the 134-yard 18th. Corpuz shot a 72, and Olson had a 75.