“Zach's a good player,” the South African said. “Anytime you can be competing against him or Steve Stricker on this golf course, you've accomplished something right there.”
It was open season at TPC Deere Run with 80 players breaking par on Thursday, but the list was topped by Sabbatini, who took advantage of the superb roll on the greens.
“On this golf course it's a pretty set formula, just get the ball to the green. But once you get to the green, you need to make putts out there,” he said.
“Nothing out there that's too gimmicky, so you know what's in front of you. It just comes down to being able to execute. The putter behaved very well today.”
The 38-year-old from Durban finished 85th in the 2013 FedExCup, while this year he ranks 81st. The consistency is there, but few fireworks have come from his corner. This week that changed as Sabbatini kept drops off his card and made eight birdies for a share of the lead.
“The fairways are lush, really good. The greens are absolutely spectacular and probably the best I've ever seen them, and the rough is penalizing. So all things considered, you hit the good shots, you're going to get rewarded,” he said.