Malnati/Hurley lead as play halted at Zurich Classic
Play was suspended for the second consecutive day at the PGA’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans on Friday, but not before Peter Malnati and Billy Hurley III carded rounds of 63 and 67 to take a one-stroke lead on the field at 14-under par. When the second round was suspended because of darkness, 40 groups had completed play.
Malnati and Hurley were among the many players in the field of 80 teams that played 36 holes Friday after Thursday’s opening round was interrupted after the TPC of Louisiana course was deluged with 2 1/2 inches of rain.
Play was suspended at 7:36 p.m. CT Friday and will resume at 7 a.m. Saturday. Tournament officials hope the rest of the field can complete the second round by 11 a.m., when the field will be cut to the low 35 teams including ties.
“I know Billy and I both are into our conditioning and it’s important, but you’re not prepared to be on your feet walking for what we were today, 10 hours or more,” Malnati said in a story at nola.com. “It’s a long day. Playing 36 holes, the greens definitely got kind of scruffy a little bit and harder to make putts, so we’re super thrilled with pretty much every shot I think we hit today.”
Beginning the second round on No. 10, Malnati/Hurley coupled for birdies at Nos. 11, 13, 17, 2 and 6 to finish 5 under.
“We were just consistent and solid, and I think we had a really good plan on every shot,” Malnati said. “And we executed quite well, too. Just good sold golf today. That made it a lot of fun.”
Malnati is searching for his first top-10 finish of the season. Hurley, playing out of the Past Champion category, is making only his fifth start of the season, with a tie for 30th at the Valspar Championship his best showing this season.
The team of Russell Knox and Brian Stuard trails by one shot after rounds of 62 and 69. Three other teams are also at 13 under, but did not complete their second round — Scott Stallings/Trey Mullinax (through nine holes), and Rory Sabbatini/Brian Gay and Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown (both through four holes).
The two-player team event includes four-ball (best-ball) rounds (first and third rounds), and foursomes (alternate shot) in the second and final rounds.
No official world rankings are awarded for the team event, but each member of the winning team will earn 400 FedEx Cup points and a two-year winner’s exemption on the PGA Tour along with entry into the Tournament of Championship and The Players Championship next year.
NOTES: In 2016, when the event was reduced to 54 holes (inclement weather), Stuard beat Byeong Hun An and Jamie Lovemark in sudden death to claim his lone PGA TOUR title. That was the last year before the event converted to a team format … Sabbatini, who finished tied for second in the 2009 event, missed the cut with Bryson DeChambeau in 2017 and John Daly in 2018 … Kisner is seeking fourth PGA Tour title and second of the season (WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play), while Brown is searching for his second Tour victory (2013 Puerto Rico Open).
–Field Level Media