Twenty-Six year-old Ben Martin said in a news conference after his second round at TPC Louisana on Friday that an attitude adjustment has helped him focus differently during PGA Tour events. The former Clemson grad from Greenwood South Carolina torched the Pete Dye layout for a new course record 62 during the first round of the Zurich Classic, and pulled out to a three shot lead on Friday as the action moves into the weekend.
Martin tees it up on Saturday in the final group with a three-shot lead over Andrew Svoboda, who tied the course record on Thursday with a 64 of his own, and a three shot lead over South Korean, Seung-Yul Noh. Martin was on fire early again Friday, but a bogey-double bogey problem at 17 and 18(his 8th and 9th of the day) kept him within distance, and will put some drama in the week-end finish.
The former Web.com stand-out says that since he has changed his mind-set each week by making the Tour Championship his ultimate goal instead of trying to win a tournament has relaxed him, and he is playing some of his better golf. He got off to a great start at the RBC Heritage last week, and finished T3.
“I was thinking about winning every week and I was missing cuts. It was really frustrating,” Martin said Friday from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
“Now it’s a week-by-week thing where I can say, all right, I’m creeping up the FedExCup list. I think that takes a lot of the pressure off.”
With the tour in a run of Pete Dye designed courses, Martin says the layouts by the legendary designer seem to fit his eye, and he feels comfortable with them. Martin is currently 65th in FedEx Cup standings, and ranked 110th in the world. A win on Sunday could put him in the position to make a run at his less loftier goal of making it to Atlanta for the final tournament in the Cup year.
He picked a great week to get himself in the lead, as he has a large group of family and friends who are in town to watch him play including his mother, who is a school teacher, and is on spring break this week.
“She’s the one that took my brother and I to golf tournaments,” Martin said. “She’s probably seen me play, I don’t even know how many holes of golf. I think that’s one of her favorite things to do.”
Anyone who reads my articles knows I love to see young people win for the first time on the PGA Tour, and this would be yet another great story of a youngster having his whole life changed in an instant if he can hang on through the weekend for a win. This is what makes sports one of our national pastimes, and why I watch!