- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014

AVONDALE, La. (AP) - Ben Martin treated a tiny gallery to a course-record round, shooting a 10-under 62 on Thursday in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

Martin’s 10th birdie was his most spectacular shot in a round full of them as he chipped in from 55 feet on the par-3 17th hole. That came a hole after the 26-year-old former Clemson player he hit the flag on a chip from behind the green, setting up a tap-in par.

The previous record at TPC Louisiana was a 64, accomplished many times, including once earlier 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.


Martin matched his career best Sunday with a third-place tie in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, S.C. He also finished third last month in the Puerto Rico Open.

Martin opened 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.

SWINGING SKIRTS LPGA CLASSIC

DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) - Karine Icher of France birdied four of her first seven holes and finished with a 6-under 66 at Lake Merced to take the lead in the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

The start was delayed two hours because of fog and play was suspended because of darkness with 24 players unable to finish the first round.

The gallery sang “Happy Birthday” to Lydia Ko on her 17th birthday as she started from the first tee, and Ko delivered with a 68 that left her tied for second with Ilhee Lee, Jenny Shin, Maria McBride and

Dewi Claire Schreefel.

Top-ranked Inbee Park opened with a 73, and second-ranked Suzann Pettersen had a 70 in her first tournament since missing three events with a back injury. Michelle Wie, coming off her first win in nearly four years last week in her home state of Hawaii, finished at even-par 72.

CHINA OPEN

SHENZHEN, China (AP) - Spain’s Alvaro Quiros and England’s Simon Dyson shared the China Open lead at 5-under 67 when play was suspended because of darkness at Genzon Golf Club.

Defending champion Brett Rumford was a stroke back along with Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and David Horsey, Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, France’s Alexander Levy and South Korea’s Park Il-hwan. Levy and Park each had a hole left. England’s Ian Poulter had a 69.

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