Martin made light of gusting afternoon winds to reel off 10
birdies, capped off by a chip-in from 55 feet at the 17th hole at
the TPC Louisiana.
He leads by two shots from fellow American Andrew Svoboda and holds
a three-shot edge over Swede Peter Hanson and South Korean Noh
"Awesome way to start," Martin told the PGA Tour's website,
Martin's score could have been even better as he failed to get
up-and-down from a greenside bunker at the par-five 18th and had to
settle for a closing par.
But he had no complaints after carding his best score on Tour by
"The ball was going where I was looking and it seemed like the putts
were falling in just like I was seeing them," Martin said.
His score is the lowest on the Tour since Australian Adam Scott also
carded a 62 in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational
at Bay Hill in Florida last month.
Martin's hot round was not exactly a bolt from the blue, but rather
a continuation of the fine form he displayed at the Heritage in his
home state of South Carolina last week.
He was in the hunt deep into the final round there until he made a
mess of the 15th hole and eventually finished equal third.
The 26-year-old is in his second season on the PGA Tour. After
struggling in his rookie campaign in 2012, he was relegated to the
secondary circuit last year, where he won twice to earn another
crack at the big time.
While Martin is trying to prove himself at the highest level, Swede
Hanson is seeking to regain the form that saw him ranked 19th in the
world at the end of 2012, before a back injury that sidelined him
for two months last year.
[to top of second column]
"I know all about what Tiger's going through," said Hanson,
referring to Tiger Woods, who last month underwent back surgery and
is not expected to return to competition until the summer.
trying to play a little more relaxed. I managed to make a few putts
going out and then had a bit of a jackpot coming in with a two on a
really tough hole."
Hanson eagled the par-four sixth, where he holed a six-iron from
Former world number one David Duval also had a good day, posting 68
in just his fourth start of the year.
The 2001 British Open champion, who is not fully exempt on tour, has
had trouble securing invitations to play this year.
"I feel I am playing well enough to compete and win golf
tournaments," said the 42-year-old, who is not guaranteed another
tournament start until Memphis in June.
"I've been working on my swing for a long time, for over a year now,
and I feel like it's fixed. I hit the ball pretty much where I was
aiming all day."
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina;
editing by Peter
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.