Branden Grace is partnering Justin Harding in the betterball Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Photo: Michael Sherman/African News Agency/ANA

Branden Grace and Justin Harding continued to work their way to the top of the pile before second-round play was suspended due to darkness at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Friday.

The stop-start nature of the PGA Tour’s only team event saw two South African combinations enjoy very different fortunes.

Playing in the betterball format, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel fired a first-round 64 to sit near the top of the pack.

A quick turnaround after Thursday’s play was affected by a thunderstorm, which saw the pair back out on to the TPC Louisiana layout.

And it didn’t take long for their challenge to unravel. Both players failed to keep their drives in play on the first hole en route to a quintuple bogey.

That saw them free fall down the leaderboard, and they never recovered. A 78 saw the pair finish at two-under and well over the cut line.

Likely to join them in sitting out rounds three and four are Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman; the elder statesmen are even for the tournament, and second from bottom with 13 holes to play.

The upside is the continued fight shown by Grace and Harding. The pair have 14 holes to move from a share of 20th after their opening 65 was immediately boosted by a birdie-birdie start.

The duo managed just three holes before play was halted.

American pair Peter Malnati and Billy Hurley III lead the way at 14-under after they managed to complete both their rounds.

African News Agency (ANA)