U.S. Open could still end on schedule

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Open might still crown a champion Sunday, even though rain has prevented any of the first three rounds at Bethpage Black being completed on schedule.

A steady downpour limited play to a total of just over 3 hours Thursday. The first round was completed Friday, and the second round started, but darkness caused play to be suspended with more than half the field having played less than 36 holes.

Even though the forecast called for heavy rain and possible thunderstorms Saturday, the second round was completed, the cut line established and the third round got under way at 5:30 p.m. A brief, heavy shower and the onset of darkness forced the third round to be suspended at 7:10 p.m. Eight groups, including the leaders, did not tee off.

But Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition, said Saturday night there was a chance to get the 72 holes in on time.

"We were unbelievably lucky today," he said. "Then, having 60 players make the cut made a big difference. If we don't have weather tonight, enough to cause problems that would delay the scheduled restart at 7:30, we could complete the third round around noon, re-pair and get the final round started as late as 1:30 and have the final round end around 7, 7:30."

Davis said changing the final round to threesomes instead of the traditional twosomes wouldn't be necessary. But groups will start at both the first and 10th tees.

"But we wouldn't re-pair them. So if it really got bad, then we'd just keep them in the same groups they're playing in Round 3. That's not ideal, because you literally could have the winner of the U.S. Open finishing on the ninth hole. But we want to get done with this thing, so we will do that if we needed to."

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