MIAMI • Jason Day was one of the early pace-setters but the world No. 1 still finished five strokes back of clubhouse leader Brian Stuard at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans on Thursday.
The Australian golf star fired an opening round three-under-par 69 and is tied for 12th at the rain- hit PGA Tour event where play was delayed for nearly five hours.
The 28-year-old, who is playing this event for the fourth time, had taken a week off after finishing in a tie for 23rd at the RBC Heritage tournament. He has not placed outside the top 25 in seven of his eight events this season, and had won the Arnold Palmer and WGC-Match Play tournaments.
The most impressive opening round came from Stuard of the United States, who shot a bogey-free eight-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over South Africa's Retief Goosen.
The 33-year-old journeyman sunk eight birdies and no bogeys in a flawless display.
J.J. Henry, Derek Ernst, Charles Howell, Patrick Rodgers and Australia's Geoff Ogilvy are tied for third at 67.
Rickie Fowler, Danny Lee, Noh Seung Yul and An Byeong Hun share eighth place at 68.
PGA ZURICH CLASSIC
Day 3: StarHub Ch204, tomorrow, 1am