Texan Martin Piller is coming off his biggest payday and best finish on the PGA Tour going into the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, checking in at 195th in the world rankings after a fourth-place tie last week at the Texas Open.
Yet he still takes a back seat in his family to his wife, Gerina, an LPGA star ranked 20th in the world after tying for third at the Swinging Skirts Classic last week.
Gerina played a major role in the U.S. team’s historic comeback against Europe to retain the Solheim Cup last fall, finishing with a 3-0-1 record.
“I have no reservations about it,”’ Martin Piller said. “She’s had a better career than I in relation to our peers. I don’t care if she beats me. … I only care if the guys out here beat me. That’s my main concern. If I’m getting whipped every week out here, OK, now I’m concerned. At the end of the day, it all goes to the same bank account for us.”
Last weekend, the couple combined to earn $350,000.
Loupe finishes strong
Former LSU and Episcopal golfer Andrew Loupe finished strong despite a five-hour weather delay, pitching in for an eagle from 36 yards on the par-5 seventh hole to come home with a 3-under 69.
When he was done, Loupe was tied for 12th.
“I hit a great drive and had a 5-iron from about (216) yards,” Loupe said of the seventh hole. “I caught a mud ball and it threw it way right, but I was able to hit a great shot and pitch it in the hole.”
Because of the lengthy delay, four of the other six golfers with Louisiana ties — all from LSU — played fewer than nine holes.
David Toms was 3-under (through seven holes), Smylie Kaufman was 1-under (through seven), Ben Taylor was 1-under (through two) and Zach Wright, a senior on this year’s team, was 1-over (through three).
Lafayette native Tim Yelverton, the Gulf States PGA Section champion, had a 1-over 73, and former Tulane player Michael Thompson shot a 77.
Carl Pettersson withdrew with tendinitis in his right wrist after hitting his tee shot on the par-3 ninth hole.
Pettersson, who was 5-over through eight holes with two double-bogeys, shook hands with his playing partners and walked to the clubhouse.
Steve Marino withdrew after shooting a 78.
Defending champ Justin Rose was 1-under through six holes when the first round was suspended by darkness, extending his streak of bogey-free holes to 72 here. … Billy Hurley III, who’s playing in his 100th PGA Tour event, shot a 74. … During the rain delay, fan favorite Boo Weekley mingled with spectators in the greenside suites at No. 17. He was playing the 12th hole when the horn sounded.
Scott Rabalais and Brian Allee-Walsh contributed.