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Jason Bohn takes a two shot advantage

Jason Bohn wielded a red-hot putter to charge two shots clear in the New Orleans Classic first round in Avondale, Louisiana on Thursday with former world number one David Duval three off the pace.

In pursuit of his second PGA Tour title, Bohn recorded four birdies in five holes around the turn on the way to a superb seven-under-par 65 at the TPC Louisiana.

His only blemish on a relatively calm morning came at the par-five last where he tried to reach the green in two only to end up in water with his second shot.

However, the 36-year-old shrugged off his bogey after ending the day two ahead of fellow Americans Jason Dufner, Chris Couch and Jeff Overton, Australia’s John Senden and Briton Greg Owen.

“I just putted extremely well today,” Bohn told reporters after recording eight birdies, one bogey and 26 putts. “Every good opportunity I had for birdie, I made it.

“And I made a couple of good par-saving putts so just to lose one (stroke) on the last hole, I won’t be too concerned about it.”

Bohn, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2005 B.C. Open, tried to fade a three-iron from 220 yards with his second shot on 18.

“I was playing aggressive on the last hole,” he said. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d hit the exact same shot. Hopefully, I’d execute better than I did but I was trying to make three there to be honest.”

Fellow American Duval, who has not won since the 2001 Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, was in upbeat mood after carding a flawless, four-birdie 68.

“I hit the ball pretty well,” said the 38-year-old after finishing level with compatriots Charles Howell III, Troy Merritt and Kevin Sutherland and South Korean KJ Choi, the 2002 champion.

“I think breaking 70 is an accomplishment out here most of the time. The greens just seemed especially hard today compared to yesterday, so I’m very pleased.”

Asked if he felt ready to end his nine-year title drought, Duval replied: “The few opportunities I’ve had in the last year or so, I felt comfortable.

“I felt like I was going to (win) at the (2009) U.S. Open, the (2010) AT&T (Pebble Beach National Pro-Am). I felt really good about what I was doing. I was comfortable in the situation, so I think that’s close.”

Duval, who held the top ranking in 1999, plummeted to 882nd after his 2001 British Open win amid injuries and personal trauma but has since clawed his way back to 118.

Last year’s winner Jerry Kelly of the U.S. opened with a 71 at the TPC Louisiana while Spaniard Sergio Garcia returned a 73 and Canadian left-hander Mike Weir a 76.

Scores

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