Martin's course record gives him Zurich lead

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 25, 2014 at 2:06 am •  Published: April 25, 2014
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AVONDALE, La. (AP) — Ben Martin made his way through most of the TPC Louisiana course with the type of sparse gallery one would expect for a player who had missed seven cuts in his previous nine starts on the PGA Tour.

The few who followed him, including his mother, father and wife, were treated to a round never before seen at the current home of the Zurich Classic.

Martin's 10-under 62 in Thursday's opening round broke the course record by two strokes, highlighted by a chip-in from 55 feet and two birdie putts of 20 feet or more.

"It was one of those days you dream about," Martin said. "I started the round with two birdies in a row and they just kept rolling in."

Martin birdied 10 holes and made pars on the rest. His final birdie came on his chip with a 54-degree sand wedge on the par-3 17th hole, which hugs a water hazard and was made more difficult by afternoon winds.

Martin said the challenges that hole posed led him to take a conservative tee shot with a 5-iron rather than a longer club, and the way the 26-year-old South Carolina native executed his plan exemplified the type of day he had.

"That was just managing my game. I knew that hole was into the wind with water left," Martin said. "I felt like short of the green was a pretty easy chip."

He certainly made it look that way.

"Really, everything was working well," Martin said. "It was just one of those days, just like you draw it up."

The previous record at TPC Louisiana was a 64, accomplished many times, including on Thursday, when Andrew Svoboda did it to take a lead that held up until Martin surged past late in the day.

Peter Hanson and Sueng-Yul Noh were tied for third at 65.

Last weekend, Martin matched his career best with a third-place tie in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, S.C. He also finished third in early March in the Puerto Rico Open, but missed four cuts after that.

Martin opened the Zurich with a 10-foot birdie putt, the first of six birdies on the front nine, most set up by approach shots within 10 feet. One exception was his 26-foot birdie putt on No. 5. He opened the back nine with a 14-foot birdie putt, made a 10-footer on 11 and a 20-footer on 13.