Olympic duo Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson along with tournament favourites Jason Day and Rickie Fowler were just some big names to miss the cut at the New Orleans Classic team event.
Sweden’s Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith of Australia take the halfway lead by one at 15-under. After an opening round of 67, the pair turned up the heat in the Four-ball round shooting a bogey-free 62.
Blixt and Smith have a two-day total of 129 and lead over Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay. K.J Choi-Charlie Wi and Troy Merritt-Robert Streb pairings who are tied for third at 13-under.
With the new team format alternating between Foursomes (alternate shot) and Four-ball it was clear that many in the field could go low. Blixt and Smith did just that, making the most of the calm morning conditions carding six birdies and two eagles.
Strong winds and cloud saw the afternoon challengers struggle to threaten the top of the leaderboard on Friday, with winds buffering around 10 miles per hour.
After a level-par 72, six off the lead, in the foursomes on day one, the Olympic duo shot a six-under 66 in the fourballs but it was just one off the cut. The 2015 Zurich Classic champion Rose and 2016 Open Champion needed to birdie the final hole at TPC Louisiana but both found the water at the par five.
The European partnership set a Ryder Cup record of 12 birdies in 16 holes in 2014 at Gleneagles, but this tournament wasn’t to be.
Stenson commented on the pairs showing in Louisiana:
You want to be in the hole with two chances as much as possible. We left each other hanging on a few occasions.
At the other end of the leaderboard the Blixt-Smith, Reed-Cantlay and Merritt-Streb pairs were among five teams to post a 62. But they were topped by Tyrone Van Aswegen and Retief Goosen who blew the field away for a 60 to reach 11-under for the tournament.
”We just blended so well today,” Van Aswegen commented. ”I made birdie and then he made birdie. It was great. It was a privilege out there.”
The South African duo were out in 30 with four birdies and an eagle in a six-hole stretch and came back home in 30, carding six birdies and no bogeys.
Fellow countryman Louis Oosthuizen birdied the 9th, his final hole, to see him and Branden Grace make the cut just on the mark at seven under.
England’s talisman Ian Poulter and Australia’s, 2006 US Open Champion, Geoff Ogilvy had eight birdies in their second-round 66 putting them six shots off the pace in Avondale.
The tournament returns to foursomes for the third round, with the halfway cut reducing the 80-team field to 42 for the weekend, taking the top 35 teams and ties after round two.
It is the first official team event on the PGA Tour since the 1981 Walt Disney World Team Championship.
World number three Jason Day and world number nine Rickie Fowler carded a 68 but missed the cut by two shots, at 5-under.
A Zurich sponsor himself, Day was positive after his round:
I think the format is a unique format. Missing the cut is not what we wanted, but walking away from this, I think they’re heading in the right direction with regards to a different format that adds more flavor to the PGA Tour.
Jordan Spieth and Ryan Palmer had posted a 66 in the first round and tied the lead with the Ryan Ruffels-Kyle Stanley pairing. But both teams failed to take advantage of the low scores and fell off the pace, repeating their 66’s on Friday and sit in a five-way tie for fifth place.
Luke Donald, Tyrrell Hatton, Jamie Donaldson, Greg Owen and Russell Knox were all hopeful British players but failed to make the weekend.
Soren Kjeldsen and Alex Cejka lead the European hopes in the field and sit three off the pace after Friday’s action.