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Martin Remains Hot in New Orleans


Ben Martin followed up his course-record-setting 10-under 62 in the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with a 67 Friday. The $6.8 million PGA Tour event is taking place at TPC Louisiana.

After carding 10 birdies Thursday, the 26-year-old South Carolinian dropped his first shots of the tournament in the second round. Starting play on the 10th tee, the former Clemson Tiger posted two birdies, an eagle on the par-5 11th hole (his second of the day), before closing out his front nine with a bogey and a double on the par-5 18th.

On hole Nos. 1-9, Martin's back nine, he added four more birdies for a 5-under-par outing and a two-day total of 15-under 129. Despite his three dropped shots, Martin still established a new 36-hole scoring record in the Zurich Classic.

"I got off to a great start today, which I think is big," he said during a TV interview. "Sometimes there can be a bit of a letdown after a really good round, but I hit it to about 6 inches on (my first hole) and chipped in for eagle (on the next)."

His double-bogey on the 18th came after he drove into a water hazard and three-putted. "That was a bit of a wake-up call," he noted of the final hole on his opening nine. "I got a bit ahead of myself."

Martin lost his Tour card after 2011 by finishing 153rd on the money list, he's has enjoyed a fine 2014 season so far. In 14 starts this year he's had two top-10 finishes, with his T-3 in last week's RBC Heritage matching the best finish of his short career.

Despite Martin's heroics, the Zurich Classic is far from a runaway. Andrew Svoboda followed up his opening 64 with a 68. The 34-year-old New Yorker posted eight birdies and no bogeys Thursday, and was on a similar bogey-free streak in the second round, carding five birdies through 17 before going backward for the first time in the tournament after a bogey on the par-3 ninth - his 18th hole.

Heading into Saturday Svoboda is three strokes behind Martin at 12-under 132, while South Korea's Seung-Yul Noh (68) and American Robert Streb (66) are at 11-under.

Sharing fifth at 10under are Erik Compton (68) and Sweden's Peter Hanson (69), and tied for seventh at 9-under 135 are Americans Charley Hoffman (67), Jeff Overton (68) and Keegan Bradley (66).

Tied for 10th at 8-under are J.B. Holmes (65) and Will Wilcox (68).

Bo Van Pelt fired Friday's low round, a 9-under 63, to vault up the leaderboard into a tie for 12th at 7-under with Michael Thompson (71), Graham DeLaet (68), David Duval (69), Retief Goosen (65), Tommy Gainey (66), J.J. Henry (69), Chad Collins (71), Mark Anderson (65) and Kevin Kisner (68).

The 36-hole cut was set at 2-under 142. Among those heading home is defending champion Billy Horschel who, despite a 70 Friday, couldn't overcome a first-round 74. Horschel's playing partners, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, also won't be moving on after the two shot 76 and 72, respectively.

James Driscoll had an interesting moment in the second round after encountering an alligator in a bunker on the 18th hole. Instead of entering the hazard, he enlisted the help of playing partner John Peterson, who poked the alligator with a golf club, causing it to retreat into an adjacent pond.

While the alligator will stay around for the weekend, Driscoll won't as he carded rounds of 76 and 69 to miss the cut.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.