AMERICAN JASON DUFNER took control of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Friday with a seven-under 65 giving him the outright lead.
Dufner jumped into with a flawless seven-under 65 at TPC Louisiana, a round which included five birdies and an eagle on the par-five 18th, as he finished the day at 12 under overall.
The American leads by one stroke from overnight leader Ken Duke, John Rollins and Scot Russell Knox, who joined Greg Chalmers in shooting the day’s-best round of 64.
Starting on the back nine Knox began his round in style, birdying four of the first five holes before an eagle on the 18th saw him reach the turn at five under. Three more birdies on the front nine saw him finish the day at 11 under overall, where he was joined by Duke, who shot a 68, and Rollins, who carded a 66.
Chalmers mixed three bogeys with nine birdies and an eagle to move to 10 under par for the tournament and claim a share of fifth place with 36 holes remaining. The Australian opened with an eagle two on the par-four first, and followed up with three straight birdies to sit five under through four holes.
A bogey on the ninth set him back, but he finished strongly to put himself right into contention heading into the weekend. Chalmers is in a three-way tie for fifth on 10 under along with South African Ernie Els and American Steve Stricker, who both shot 68s on Friday.
Colombian Camilo Villegas shot a six-under 66 to move into a tie for eighth along with the other overnight leader, Cameron Tringale, and Canadian Graham De Laet on nine under. World number two Luke Donald recovered from his poor first round with a 65 on Friday to jump to a tie for 22nd at six under for the tournament, where he is joined by Australian Stuart Appleby and a host of others.
Several big names missed out on the weekend action, including South African Retief Goosen and Americans Nick Watney, Keegan Bradley and Ricky Barnes.