The Graeme McDowell & Matt Wallace partnership continued to deliver in Louisiana as the pair fired four birdies and bagged a hole in one at the Zurich Classic.
With the format being fourballs in the first and third rounds and foursomes in the second and fourth the event is the only official FedEx team event on the PGA Tour and McDowell and Wallace find themselves in T9th position on 8-under par after their exploits on Friday which included McDowell collecting an ace on the par-3 17th.
“Yeah, you know, I haven’t seen the replay yet, but I had sort of taken my eye off the ball because I was just fairly relieved that it was on line,” said McDowell.
“I think my partner was reasonably relieved, as well. This golf course is so great because there’s so many opportunities, but there’s half a dozen shots where you have to stand up and hit a shot, and 17 is obviously one of those today.
“I was kind of between clubs. I was between a 4 and a 3 and I just felt like 3 was — it’s a hybrid and it’s pretty strong, and I just felt like it was a lot of club and I decided to try and hit a 4 and pitch it in the front half of the green and sort of take my medicine and get out of there, and it came out perfectly, and I think I said to it, somehow get up, like as in get back there to the flag. I picked my tee up and walked over to the bag and I could hear the crowd starting to go, and obviously when it dropped in, my playing partner mugged me and the caddies all attacked me.
“I was sort of in a state of disbelief because I was just relieved to get the ball on dry land there, and it was cool. It was a nice little shot in the arm for us, and we birdied the next, and we put ourselves in a nice little slot going into the weekend.”
— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) April 23, 2021
When quizzed on the fantastic celebration and told that it’s not ‘official’ because it’s a team event the mood was expectedly jovial with Wallace commenting, “It was such a good shot. It was playing tough. I knew the yardage, I knew Graeme’s distances that he was hitting with those clubs…Nah, that counts.
While McDowell was also understandably unperturbed, “I don’t care if it’s official, unofficial. I’m pretty sure it says 1 on the scorecard.
“And like a little side note, the interesting thing is that we played Callaway most of the day because Matty was a little uncomfortable changing ball this week, so we decided to play his most of the week. That was the first time the Srixon was in play today on 17. Just a shameless sponsor plug there”.
As for the celebrations afterwards…well McDowell was determined to keep his eyes on the prize, “I think we’ll be behaving ourselves tonight. We do know a nice Italian restaurant with some fine red wine. We may have a glass of wine, but we’ll save the celebrations hopefully for Sunday night.”
With a tied low round of the day of 68, the tournament is being led by the big-hitting duo of Cameron Champ & Tony Finau on 13-under par in the first time they have been paired together.
They are joined at the top of the table by former Oklahoma State University teammates and members of the 2018 NCAA Championship winning team Victor Hovland & Kris Ventura, also on 13-under par.
Meanwhile the third-time partnership of Henrik Stenson & Justin Rose is in T2 alongside Bubba Watson & Scottie Scheffler on 11-under par.