Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Morikawa and Hovland eye second-round charge

A look at what the teams said after the first round of fourballs in the PGA Tour’s pairs event at TPC Louisiana.

Shooting 7-under par on day one of a golf event is often good enough for the lead.

But not at this week's Zurich of New Orleans where the 80 two-man teams were playing fourballs in Thursday's opening round.

On a course yielding lots of birdies and both players' balls counting, scoring was bound to be low and pre-tournament favourites Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland didn't feel they'd fully cashed in after their 7-under 65.

That put them five behind early pacesetters Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who thrashed a tournament record 13-under 59.

Here's what some of the duos said after round one. The second day is foursomes (alternate shot).

Cantlay and Schauffele - 13-under 59

Patrick Cantlay: We played really well, made a lot of putts today on a day that was a little tricky with the wind and didn't birdie a lot of the same holes. When you do that in this format, that's really the key.

"It's just the first quarter. So the buffer, we're only one shot ahead, but we are going into a format on Friday that we really like. I think Xander and I really like alternate shot. It's one of our strengths for the week, and we're really looking forward to it."

Xander Schauffele: "Golf is a cliche, one shot at a time. Alternate shot is literally for each one of us one shot at a time. We have to do our very best to leave our partner in the best position possible to try and score on the hole.

"Like Pat said, with the wind blowing, it's going to take a lot of patience and a lot of good thinking around the property to try and make alternate shot as easy as possible."

NeSmith and Moore - 12-under 60

Matthew NeSmith: "Strategy was… I mean, T's been a little bit under the weather here the last couple of days. So honestly, we were just trying to finish 18 holes upright. I mean, finish 18 holes upright, and all of a sudden, we started catching a touch of a rhythm, started making a few putts, started finding the round a little bit.

"We finished 18 holes, and that was the goal."

Taylor Moore: "I was in the ER yesterday morning. I had food poisoning Tuesday night up until midday yesterday. So just got an IV and some nausea medicine. Finally ate something this morning, which was nice. Like he said, just tried to finish every hole. That was kind of a win within its own right.

"Got into a little rhythm there at the end, which was cool."

Rai and Lipsky - 11-under 61

Aaron Rai: "We did complement each other really well today. David played some incredible golf, hit some shots really close, putted well. And David made a lot of birdies, especially early on and around the turn, which really got things going for us.

"I've never played foursomes before. So tomorrow will be the first time."

David Lipsky: "Our caddies are really good friends. They room together most weeks. It's just a comfortable fit for us. We know each other from the European Tour. So we always have that in common. I think it was meant to be.

"There's an event in Europe, it was called the GolfSixes. You only played like six holes. Every hole had like a different theme. One was alternate shot, one was best ball. So I played like two holes alternate shot like five years ago. That was the closest I've had to this type of format."

Hatton and Willett - 9-under 63

Danny Willett: "We both played real solid today. We both gave ourselves lots of chances on each hole, which is kind of the key to a pretty stress-free round, apart from the last hole there when tee was a good ways away and I ended up knocking it in the water.

"So great two-putt by Tyrrell Hatton to go bogey-free on a day like today. Yeah, just lots of good golf in there today."

Tyrrell Hatton: "We played in this event together last year, and I took the odds [in foursomes] and plan on doing the same thing again. We finished tied eighth last year, and we made a mess of 18 two out of the four days.

"So we did well, and hopefully we can have another good day tomorrow and see where we go over the weekend."

Morikawa and Hovland 7-under 65

Viktor Hovland: "I feel like we got off to a nice start. Collin certainly made a bunch of birdies, and I was just trying to keep up with him. I made a couple myself, but I was out of position a little too much today. I wish I could have helped Collin a little bit. Collin played some great golf.

"Yeah, hopefully we can kind of play more what we're capable of, and we should have a good tournament."

Collin Morikawa: "Yeah, just like Viktor said, we started out really nice, and we kind of stalled out on the back side, the front nine. We got a birdie coming in on 7.

"For us, I think we're still going to be as confident as ever. This is kind of the format we're looking forward to for tomorrow. Even with a kind of mediocre day to still be at 7-under, four off the lead, hopefully stay four by the end of the day. We're still right there with formats to come."

Smith and Leishman 7-under 65

Cameron Smith: "We kept everything pretty spot on today. We're going to tee up the same holes again tomorrow. Yeah, I don't think there was really much change from last year. We played some really good golf. Yeah, just trying to replicate that as much as we can."

Marc Leishman: "Yeah, we're happy. It wasn't exactly what we're after, but there were some tricky hole locations out there. Not so much the positions, but the breaks around the holes were quite tricky. A little bit of wind out there.

"You always want to have a low score, but it's nice to see that putt of Cam's go in on 9 there to get to 7."

READ MORE: Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman continue love affair with TPC Louisiana

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