Rory Sabbatini thinks he may have found the secret to picking the right partner for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
“Quit trying to find the long hitter,” he joked.
A year ago, Sabbatini played with John Daly, the current PGA TOUR Champions player who during his heyday in the 1990s was the PGA TOUR’s longest hitter.
They missed the cut.
This year, he’s playing with Brian Gay, who, well, is not exactly known for his length off the tee. Gay entered this week ranked 208th in driving distance. That’s out of 209 players.
Gay-Sabbatini completed their first round Friday morning at TPC Louisiana, finishing with two birdies for a 12-under 60 that gave them the clubhouse lead. That 60 ties for the lowest tournament score since the Zurich Classic began using the team format in 2017.
It also should secure the first made cut at TPC Louisiana for both Gay and Sabbatini in that span.
Gay did not play in 2017, while Sabbatini partnered Bryson DeChambeau. They missed the cut that week; for DeChambeau, it was the third of eight consecutive missed cuts before he broke through that summer by winning the John Deere Classic for his first TOUR victory.
In 2018, Gay missed the Zurich cut partnering with Aaron Wise. Just like Sabbatini with DeChambeau the previous year, it just seemed like a case of mismatched timing. The next week, Wise tied for second at the RBC Heritage, then won the AT&T Byron Nelson two weeks after that.