Ben Martin followed his course-record 10-under-par 62 with a 67 and pushed his lead to three shots over Andrew Svoboda midway through the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La.
Martin started on the back nine and was 4-under through four holes, including an eagle when he chipped in from 57 yards on the 11th hole, but lost his first strokes to par in the tournament when he went bogey-double bogey on the 17th and 18 holes.
However, he rallied with four birdies in a flawless front nine.
“The start, being 4-under after four holes, it was kind of a nice way to validate what I did (on Thursday),” said Martin, who changed his mind-set after missing seven of eight cuts and tied for third last week in the RBC Heritage.
“I changed my goal for the year from winning twice to just finishing in the top 30 in the FedEx Cup Race and making it to the Tour Championship. That’s a much better goal because it’s week-to-week and you can see yourself moving up in the standings. It took the pressure off.”
Svoboda followed up his 64, which tied the course record until Martin broke it, with a 68 and was within two shots of the lead until he three-putted from 50 feet at No. 18, missing a six-footer for par.
Seung-Yul Noh, who captured the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on the Web.com Tour last year and has two other pro victories in Asia, played bogey-free for the second straight day, following a 65 with a 68.
Noh was tied for third, four shots back, with Robert Streb, who birdied five of his last eight holes to shoot 66.
Erik Compton birdied two of his last three holes to card a 68 and was tied for fifth, five strokes behind, with Peter Hanson of Sweden, who had a 69.
Keegan Bradley posted a 66 and was in a tie for seventh, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose recorded a 67 and was tied for 22nd, and Patrick Reed, a two-time winner this season finished at 75-76 — 150 and missed the cut by eight strokes.
Reed hit three balls into the water at No. 18 and took a quintuple-bogey 10.