Zurich Classic: Bubba Watson struggles

Slow start for Donald and Watson as Duke and Tringale share lead in Zurich Classic

|

UPDATED:

06:14 GMT, 27 April 2012

Luke Donald's quest to regain golf's world No 1 position got off to a poor start at the Zurich Classic.

Donald needs to finish in the top seven at the event in Avondale, Louisiana, if he is to reclaim top spot from Rory McIlroy – who does not return to action until next week's Wells Fargo Championship.

Struggles: Luke Donald is fighting to regain his world No 1 spot from Rory McIlroy

Struggles: Luke Donald is fighting to regain his world No 1 spot from Rory McIlroy

Leading light: Ken Duke hit the top of the leaderboard after the first day

[caption

However, Donald could only manage an
opening round of 73 – and at one over par the 34-year-old sits eight
shots off the pace set by Ken Duke and Cameron Tringale.

Three birdies and three bogeys were
followed by a five at the par-three 17th for Donald – although the
Englishman got a shot back on the 18th.

Bubba Watson is also well off the pace
after making his return to action following victory in The Masters.
Watson won this event last year but this time around he carded a steady
opening round of 71, one under par.

Bad start: Masters champion Bubba Watson was well off the pace

Bad start: Masters champion Bubba Watson was well off the pace

In contention: Steve Stricker

In contention: Steve Stricker

The American had birdies on the
second, sixth and seventh holes but bogeys on the eighth, 10th and 16th
meant he needed a birdie on the 18th to finish the first round under
par.

Duke had seven birdies in a bogey-free
round, while Tringale – who is also seeking his first win on the PGA
Tour – recovered well after a bogey on the third, finishing with four
birdies.

South Africa's Ernie Els, Sweden's
Daniel Chopra and United States duo Steve Stricker and Chris Stroud are a
shot behind the leaders on six under, with fellow Americans Ben Curtis,
John Rollins and Jason Dufner on five under.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and
Scotland's Russell Knox are the best-placed Britons after the first
round, on three under par.

England's Greg Owen was two under
after the first round, with Brian Davis a shot further back alongside
Watson. Justin Rose managed a level par opening round, while Gary
Christian was on three over.