PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Chances are, someone is going to emerge to claim a breakthrough victory this weekend at the Ginn sur Mer Classic.
And this time, Daniel Chopra feels like it might be him.
Winless in his first 132 career PGA Tour starts, Chopra fired his second straight bogey-free round, a 7-under 66, to get to 13 under and within one shot of leaders Bob Estes and Tommy Armour III in the second round of the rain-soaked event at Tesoro Club.
“If I play the way I’m playing right now I can win this week,” said Chopra, one of many near the top of the leaderboard who’ve yet to win on tour. “I have two more days to keep continuing this kind of form. But obviously, it becomes more and more difficult to score as the week goes on.”
Estes and Armour shot 68s after identical 64s on Thursday.
The tournament is about 2 hours from Chopra’s Orlando home, so he decided to head there for dinner and a good night’s sleep. He’ll return Saturday, set to resume the quest for his first tour win.
“It just makes you feel a lot more relaxed,” Chopra said.
Chopra’s threesome in the first two rounds seemed plenty relaxed.
He was playing with Estes and Bob Tway, who started his opening round with four straight birdies – and that seemed to set the tone for a two-day scoring barrage by the group. Combined, they have 39 birdies and six bogeys entering the weekend.
“With the fairways soft and the greens soft, you still can make a lot of birdies,” Estes said.
Soft doesn’t even begin to describe conditions this week.
Squishy would be closer to accurate.
The course was soggy Thursday and even wetter Friday, because of intermittent rain overnight and during the morning. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairway – and still had trouble finding dryish spots to play approaches from.
“Without that, it’d be unplayable,” said Sean O’Hair (68), at 10 under along with Steve Lowery (66) and Michael Sim (67).
Play was delayed one hour at Friday’s start by rain and the round was suspended at 5:39 p.m. after another squall moved into the area. None of the players with afternoon starting times finished, meaning 64 couldn’t finish their round because of the late-day downpour.
In all, 2.2 inches of rain fell Friday at the already-waterlogged Tesoro Club.
“You couldn’t have driven in it, let’s put it that way,” John Daly said after finishing Saturday morning. “There’s no way you could have driven in that kind of rain. You’d have to pull over. Even my bus, which sits up so high, I don’t think I could have driven in it raining so hard. It was just brutal.”
The wet conditions kept golfers off the course until 9 a.m. Saturday, an hour behind schedule. Third-round tee times were pushed back to Saturday afternoon.
Daly was at 1 under when he returned to finish his final two holes, and made a 5-footer for birdie to ensure that he’d play the weekend. He rebounded from an opening-round 75 to shoot 69.
“It’s tough. It played tough,” said Daly, who finished on the 2-under cut line.
Daisuke Maruyama (66) was at 9 under, as was Jeff Quinney, who shot 64 in the second round to match the tournament low so far.
Bryce Molder – who made his sixth cut in 20 starts this season – shot a 71 to reach 8 under.
“I’ve had some momentum building,” said Molder, who didn’t make a cut until July but has cashed in four of his past five starts. “I still don’t feel like I’m there yet, so I feel like I want to keep it kind of building. Even if it’s just for Q-school, it’d be great.”
Notes: The second round ended Saturday at 11:49 a.m. … Three players withdrew Saturday morning, citing no reason: Robert Damron, Richard S. Johnson and Michael Bradley all withdrew. None were inside the projected cut line. … Mark Calcavecchia played three holes before withdrawing, citing symptoms of vertigo. Carlos Franco was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard, and J.B. Holmes was disqualified after simply not showing up for his second round. … Identical twins Derek (75, 1 over) and Daryl (75, 5 over) Fathauer missed the cut. “What an experience,” said Barbara Fathauer, mother of the twins who are seniors at Louisville and grew up near the course.