Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith lead Zurich

Classic team event

AVONDALE, Louisiana  – News and notes from Friday’s second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the first team event held on the US PGA Tour in 36 years. The team of Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith lead by one stroke at 15 under after the Four-ball round.

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But does he like Vegemite sandwiches?

Jonas Blixt was born in Sweden, played golf collegiately at Florida State and now lives in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Yet somehow he’s become kindred spirits with the Aussies.
His former roommate, Nick Flanagan, is from Australia. Jonas’ brother is now studying in Sydney. And this week, Blixt is teamed up with 23-year-old Cameron Smith, who was born in Brisbane.
“I think Swedes and Australians get along well with each other,” Blixt said.
Asked why, Blixt replied: “I don’t know. Same mentality I think.”
Blixt and Smith, who also lives in the Jacksonville area, have gotten along well this week. Their 10-under 62 on Friday was a study in balance – Blixt had an eagle and three birdies, and Smith did the same. “We can just kind of rely on each other,” Smith said.
Not only do they both live in the same area and use the same trainer, but Smith’s caddie Sam Pinfold, a New Zealander, lives with Blixt. That’s the connection that got the two players together.
The only thing that hasn’t been in sync this week was their Friday apparel. Smith told Blixt to wear a blue shirt and gray pants, but the Swede showed up wearing white pants. So Smith had to quickly change before their round.
White pants are on the script for Saturday. Hopefully no last-minute corrections will be needed.

    In the second round of the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Russell Knox holed out from 84-yards for eagle 2 on the par-4 16th hole.             

Ten years in the making

Charley Hoffman is from California. So is Nick Watney. They each moved Las Vegas and trained at the Butch Harmon School of Golf. They each have two young kids and their wives are good friends.
While the Vegas ties are no longer in effect – Hoffman recently moved back to his hometown of San Diego, while Watney moved to wife Amber’s hometown of Austin, Texas – they remain good friends.
So it was natural for Hoffman to ask Watney to be his partner this week at Zurich. Plus, Watney had won here before in 2007. In fact, Hoffman and Watney were paired in the third round that week – the second of 24 career rounds they’ve shared on TOUR.
“Maybe this [partnership] has been in the making the whole time,” Watney said.
For Hoffman, Watney’s prior success was a bonus.
“I wanted to find someone who’s played well here in the past, sort of like me,” said Hoffman, who has top-12 finishes in his last two Zurich starts. “I want to win this golf tournament. This wasn’t go-hang-out-with-your-buddy week. It’s let’s go get a W and get to Hawaii and get some money and FedExCup points.”
But Watney wasn’t sure – not because he didn’t want to play with Hoffman, who’s obviously in good form after contending earlier this month at the Masters. Playing on a Major Medical Extension, Watney needing to make sure official FedExCup points and money were at stake, since every start he makes goes toward his goal of reclaiming exempt status.
“Once I found out … well, he’s been playing great. We’re good friends. It was an easy decision,” said Watney, who’s making the 11th of his 21 available starts after returning





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