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.
Australian star Day fired an opening round
three-under 69 and is tied for 12th at the rain-hit PGA Tour event where play
was delayed for nearly five hours Thursday.
Afternoon thunderstorms lashed the TPC
Louisiana at Avondale course resulting in 78 players not being able to finish
their first rounds. The opening round will resume early Friday morning and will
be followed immediately by the second round.
Day drained a 59-foot birdie on the
par-four 16th hole to post his fourth birdie of the day.
Day, who is playing this event for the
fourth time, took a week off after finishing in a tie for 23rd at the RBC
Heritage tournament. He hasn't placed outside the top 25 in seven of his eight
events this season, winning the Arnold Palmer and WGC-Match Play.
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.
"It was a good day. Definitely had the
putter working," Stuard said. "I played pretty well tee to green but
really made some putts.
"During the delay, I was just kind of
killing time and then coming back out, it was a little bit different
conditions. The wind was a little bit different. But all in all, a good
Stuard never looked back after notching
three birdies in the first four holes, draining putts of 12, 33 and 23 feet.
Two more birdies before the turn put him at
five under and he began the back nine with another birdie blitz to move to
J.J. Henry, Derek Ernst, Charles Howell,
Patrick Rodgers and Australia's Geoff Ogilvy are tied for third at 67.
Rickie Fowler, New Zealand's Danny Lee and
two South Koreans, Noh Seung-Yul and An Byeong-Hun, share eighth place at 68.