Kelly leads rain-drenched Canadian Open

Kelly leads rain-drenched Canadian Open

Jerry Kelly leads the Canadian Open by one stroke.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) — Players took dead aim at Glen Abbey’s rain-softened greens. A little thunderstorm got in on the act, too, at the 100th Canadian Open.

“It developed just outside the 15-mile radar scope and it was the only storm in the region,” PGA Tour tournament director Steve Carman said. “It wasn’t very large, but it went right down the pipe to hit us.”

Lightning forced the players off the course at 7:30 p.m. Friday, half an hour after play resumed following a three-hour delay because of lightning and rain. Heavy rain followed, dropping a little more than a half-inch in 20 minutes.

More rain was expected Saturday afternoon, a daunting prospect for the tournament that has lost 12 hours of daylight to the storms that have drenched the clay-base layout with more than 2 inches of rain in two days.

“If we get any rain during the day tomorrow, we’re at what they call field capacity,” Carman said. “The sponge is full of water.”

Jerry Kelly had the lead at 12 under, shooting a 7-under 65 in the first round Friday and finishing off the last three holes of a second-round 67 Saturday morning.

“I’ve played well, played consistent,” Kelly said. “That’s the key out here. No. 1, get in the fairway. No. 2, get it on the green and get those putts rolling.”

He returned Saturday to birdie the par-5 16th and closed with two pars.

“I don’t think they’ve got the mowers out there as heavily as they’d like to, so it’s getting a little hairy out there,” Kelly said. “Hopefully we don’t get too much today, and they can actually get the mowers out there tomorrow, otherwise we’ll be catching some flyers out of those fairways.”

Nathan Green was 11 under after rounds of 65 and 67. Camilo Villegas (63-71) Martin Laird (65-69), Pat Perez (67-67) and Bob Estes (67-67) were in at 10 under.

Retief Goosen and first-round co-leader Kevin Na also were 10 under. Goosen had 11 holes left, and Na had 12.

The 42-year-old Kelly, the New Orleans winner in April coming off a third-place finish last week in Milwaukee in his home-state event, had seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch in the first round on the vulnerable course.

“You can get after it,” Kelly said.

But only if it’s dry enough to play.

“Our regulations dictate that we’re playing 72 holes by the end of Monday, then the option would be to go back to 54 holes,” Carman said. “But we’re pretty much regulated to try and get 72 holes in by the end of the day Monday.”

The event could possibly stretch to Tuesday.

“Again, according to the regulations, if you’re playing the final round and half the field finishes on Monday night, that would force you to go into Tuesday to finish that round. That’s pretty much the only way we could go to Tuesday.”

Lee Janzen, incorrectly listed Friday night among the players who withdrew after play was suspended, returned to finish off a second-round 70 that left him at 6 under.

“Just a miscommunication on the part of the PGA Tour’s rules staff,” Carman said.

Aaron Baddeley, Tag Ridings, Greg Owen, David Gossett, Robert Garrigus, Mark Brooks, Carl Pettersson and Brian Davis did withdraw.

Stephen Ames topped the 15 Canadians. Trying to become the first Canadian winner since Pat Fletcher in 1954, he was 7 under after rounds of 68 and 71.

“It’s difficult,” Ames said. “Stop, start, stop, start.”

Countryman Mike Weir was 4 under overall after eight holes Saturday. He shot a 71 on Thursday in a round interrupted by a 7 1/2-hour delay.

Former Southern California player Jamie Lovemark, making his pro debut, followed an opening 74 with a 66 to finish at 4 under.

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