Golf: Sabbatini, Gay lead after first round of rain-soaked Zurich Classic

Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia during the first round of the Zurich Classic.
Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia during the first round of the Zurich Classic.PHOTO: AFP

AVONDALE, Louisiana (REUTERS) - Rory Sabbatini and Brian Gay returned to soggy TPC Louisiana on Friday (April 26) to put the finishing touches to a sparkling opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans that left them with a one-shot lead going into the second round of the team event.

The veteran duo had completed 14 holes and were riding a streak of five consecutive birdies in the fourball matches when play was suspended on Thursday for darkness after rain and thunderstorms caused a nearly eight-hour delay.

Slovak Sabbatini, who was born in South Africa, and American Gay capped their round with two consecutive birdies for a 12-under-par 60 that tied the lowest tournament score since the Zurich Classic began using the team format in 2017.

Americans Scott Stallings and Trey Mullinax, who completed their round on Thursday, birdied seven of their final nine holes and were one shot off the pace along with Americans Cody Gribble and Joey Garber.

Twice major winner Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes were four shots off the pace after an eight-under-par 64 while former Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood were among a large group a further shot back.

The format for the second round, which is already under way, is foursomes (or alternate shot) where members of a team take alternate shots until a hole is completed.