The Zurich Classic of New Orleans has always had something of a reputation for low scoring. The highest winning total in the last decade is -13, from Tim Petrovic in 2005 and Andres Romero in 2008. It’s a birdie lover’s best friend.
To say that making par is almost giving up a stroke wouldn’t be a stretch, but Ben Martin is taking that to a new level altogether.
Martin began the week in the Big Easy by destroying the course record, firing a 10-under-par round of 62 on Thursday. It was an incredible accomplishment, and one that gave him a comfortable two-stroke lead over Andrew Svoboda, who earlier in the day had matched the previous record with a 68.
Of course, that wasn’t enough. Martin is now doing his best to show that he’s not just a one-day wonder, following up his great start with a Friday 67 to move to -15, extending his lead as the second round continues.
Martin last held a full-time PGA Tour card in 2011, but he fought his way back to the big league by winning twice on the Web.com Tour in 2013, and finishing third on the money list. He’s only made five cuts so far in the 2013-14 season, but after missing four consecutive cuts, he bounced back to finish tied for third at last week’s RBC Heritage. With just five cuts made this year, he’s already made over $707,000, over double what he earned his last time around.
Although his results haven’t necessarily been showing it, Martin’s putting is what’s gotten him back to this level. Ranked fifth in total putting and 18th in strokes gained, Martin has been absolutely deadly on the greens. He doesn’t give up strokes by three-putting, and that’s the type of talent that translates to any course in the world.
There’s still a lot of golf to be played this weekend in New Orleans, but don’t be surprised if Ben Martin takes this opportunity and runs with it.