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April 28 2011

6:26 PM

Bettencourt prospers in wind

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Matt Bettencourt battled tough, windy conditions and posted a 4-under 68 on Thursday.

Stiff breezes out of the north created some unusual challenges at TPC Louisiana during the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

"It was unbelievable," Matt Bettencourt said. "I've never played this golf course out of the north. So it presents a different set of challenges on some holes. And there are quite a few holes on the back nine that are playing really long right now."

Bettencourt, though, managed to prosper -- preserving a round of 68 with a clutch up and down at the 18th hole. He's one stroke off Joe Durant's lead, as a result, and tied with Webb Simpson.

"It's been 15 to 20 consistently all day, sometimes even harder," Bettencourt said. "This back nine right now is really playing brutal. You've got to hold on, and par is a great score out there."

Bettencourt made five birdies while dropping just one shot to par on the Pete Dye layout. His final birdie came on the difficult 15th hole, a 490-yarder that is playing as the toughest of the day.

"The hole before was playing 220, and I was trying to hit a 4-iron wide about 190 and get it back there and roll it back," Bettencourt said. "... And 15 I basically had the same kind of shot and just nailed a 4-iron that was probably playing closer to 230. 

"I saw it land on the middle and kind of funnel back there.  It was a great feeling to get up there and see it about five feet from probably the hardest hole on the golf course."

Bettencourt's birdie at the 15th was the first of the day. "It's funny because when I made birdie there, Ryan Palmer told me that's a skin," he said. "So it's definitely a tough hole."

Click here to replay Bettencourt’s round on Shot Tracker.

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