(Reuters) – The journeyman duo of Peter Malnati and Billy Hurley III took the clubhouse lead before the second round of the weather-hit Zurich Classic of New Orleans was halted by darkness in Louisiana on Friday.
The American pair missed the cut at the team event when they played together last year but were much more in sync on Friday, carding a five-under-par 67 in the alternate-shot fourball format at TPC Louisiana.
At 14-under 130, they lead Russell Knox and Brian Stuard (69) by one stroke.
Also one behind and with holes left to play in their second round were Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown (through four holes), Scott Stallings and Trey Mullinax (nine holes) and Brian Gay and Rory Sabbatini (four holes).
“Last year we pretty much did our own thing,” Malnati told Golf Channel.
“This year we tried to embrace the team aspect, talked about our shots better, a ‘two minds are better than one’ philosophy.
“It’s been a lot of fun and obviously it’s working. One week a year we’re actually rooting for someone out here other than just ourselves.”
Added Hurley: “Peter and I first met right when I got out of the navy. We played mini tours together. We’ve been friends ever since and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Malnati and Hurley each have one PGA Tour victory.
Defending champions Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy were four shots behind after shooting 68.
Horschel used a post-round interview to apologise for using an expletive that was audible on television coverage.
“Unfortunately there was a fan who said something on the tee, and spur of the moment I said something, a word in the middle there, that I wish I wouldn’t have said,” Horschel said.
“I apologise to the fans.”
Half the field — 40 teams — will complete the second round on Saturday morning, a result of Thursday’s nearly eight-hour delay due to thunderstorms.
The third round, expected to start at around noon local time, will use the more forgiving fourball format in which both players hit their own ball and use the best score on each hole.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Additional reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Peter Rutherford)