PGA Tour surprising duo sits atop Zurich Classic of New Orleans leaderboard

Two duos went low at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as Patton Kizzire and his partner Ben Kholes are tied with Mark Hubbard and Ryan Brehm.

Each team fired off bogey-free 11-under 61s to lead by one shot over three teams at 10-under, as of this writing.

Kizzire and Kholes made six birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 30 shots. Coming home, they added four birdies between holes 10-14. The duo birdied the 18th to come home in 31 strokes to cap off a strong first round.

“Well, we came out of the gates both playing really well, both birdieing the same holes. Ideally, we’d like to mix it up. But we started well and just kept it going,” Kizzire said. “Whenever one of us needed the other, we stepped up and ham-and-egged it. He was a fantastic partner. I needed him out there, and he stepped up.”

Both have played at the Zurich Classic, but it is their first time together.

“It’s pretty fun just getting out here, and like he said, having a partner. Not something we get to do hardly ever. It’s fun kind of leaning on someone else and having that camaraderie out there,” Kholes said.

Day 2 will feature a new format in Alternate-shot, which can be difficult. However, for this duo, the game plan will remain the same.

“Just trying to put ourselves in the best spots that we can and picking each other up when something doesn’t go right,” Kholes said. “That’s all you can do. Just stay in the moment and hit the best shot you can at each point, and we’ll see where that puts us.”

They were not the only players to find success; they matched Hubbard and Brehm for the low round of the day.

Teams that also performed well in the Four-Ball format on Thursday were Davis Thompson and Andrew Novak, who posted a 10-under 62.

One of the Canadian duos, Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith, are two shots back after they carded a 9-under 63. Will Zalatoris and Sahith Theegala finished Day 1 with a 7-under 65.

The betting favorites coming into the week, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, settled for a 7-under 65 to sit four shots behind the leaders.

The afternoon wave got a little more wind on the golf course than the morning groups, but a few groups were poised to go low. Keith Mitchell and Joel Dahmen are 7-under through 11 holes. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are also 7-under through 10 holes to start the back nine.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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