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Big names in the hunt early in New Orleans

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2007 Zurich ClassicAVONDALE, Louisiana – Jason Bohn took advantage of calm morning conditions to shoot a 7-under 65 and take a two-stroke lead over Jason Dufner, John Senden, Jeff Overton, Greg Owen and 2006 champion Chris Couch in the Zurich Classic on Thursday.

Bohn had eight birdies and one bogey – when he tried to reach the par-5 18th green in two stokes and ended up in the water – at Pete Dye-designed TPC Louisiana.

“I was playing aggressively on the last hole,” Bohn said. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d hit the exact same shot.”

Every time he had a chance for a birdie, he made it, Bohn said.

“And I made a couple of par-saving putts,” said Bohn, who had 26 putts.

Bohn was just one stroke off the course record of 64 set by Kyle Reifers in 2007.

Bohn’s score held up easily as the wind came up in the afternoon and made the course play much tougher.

“There is not much coverage out here on this golf course,” Dufner said. “It’s pretty open. So if it can get windy, that will make play a lot more difficult.”

Five players – former British Open champion David Duval, Charles Howell III, Kevin Sutherland, 2002 winner K.J. Choi and Troy Merritt – opened with 68s.

Defending champion Jerry Kelly shot a 71.

This is the fifth time this year Choi has opened with a 68 or better.

Choi, Owen and Overton teed off in the afternoon.

“It was blowing,” said Owen, who made five birdies on the front nine. “There were a few gusts, but it’s obviously tough.”

Defending champion Jerry Kelly had an opening-round 71.

Three players pulled out during their round due to injuries. George McNeill (elbow), John Mallinger (shoulder), and Jeff Maggert (shoulder).