AVONDALE, La. (AP) — Dark clouds rolled in hours before the rain started at the Zurich Classic on Friday. However, even the brisk winds before the storm did not seem to hamper those who teed off early.
Lightning forced play to be halted at 12:57 p.m., and heavy rain continued for hours. Play was officially called for the day at 5:21 p.m.
According to the National Weather Service, 1 1/2 to 2 inches of rain had fallen by 3 p.m.
By the time play was halted, 47 players had finished their rounds, and three – Lee Janzen, Alex Cejka and Brian Davis – were atop the leaderboard at 7 under after two rounds.
Janzen shot a bogey-free 66, to snap a string of four straight missed cuts coming into the tournament.
“When you hear players talking about the difference between the guys barely making the cut or barely missing the cut and the guys that are leading the tournament, it’s a very fine line,” Janzen said.
Janzen said he made a putt on the first hole and that relaxed him.
“Physically or technically my swing, everything about my game is as good as it’s ever been,” Janzen said.
Davis also had a 66 and Cejka shot a 67. Greg Chalmers had a 68 and was one stroke back at 138, and Chris Riley (66) was at 139.
Jason Bohn, who led at 7 under after the first round, was about 20 minutes away from teeing off when play stopped.
“This golf course has a lot of bunkers, a lot of long bunkers and a lot of the edges have fallen down,” PGA Tour director Steve Carman said. “So the maintenance crew is going to have to pull up all those edges.”
It would take more than an hour to complete, Carman said. By that time there would not be enough daylight to play.
Officials said play would resume at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. They hoped that the rain would end during the night and groundskeepers would be able to get the course in shape so the second round could be finished and the third round started.
The forecast for Saturday calls for more rain. Tournament officials had planned to start players in groups of three from both the first and 10th tees early Saturday to beat the rain. But when the storm arrived on Friday, they hoped it would end early as well.
“The forecast for tomorrow isn’t very good,” Carman said. “We’ll get them out there and if we can play, we’ll do that. We’ve got about six hours of golf to finish in the second round.”
Bill Lunde withdrew on Friday with one hole left to play because of a shoulder injury.