Jason Day trails clubhouse leader Brian Stuard by five shots at rain-hit Zurich Classic

Australian is one of the early pace-setters but the world No 1 finishes five strokes back of clubhouse leader Brian Stuard in New Orleans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 12:06pm

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.

It was a good day. Definitely had the putter working. I played pretty well tee to green but really made some putts
Brian Stuard

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.

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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.

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“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 day.”

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 eight under.

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.