SONOMA, Calif.(AP) Heavy rains forced the postponement of the third round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Saturday.
Play was suspended at the Champions Tour’s season-ending event for more 3 1/2 hours before officials made the decision to delay the remainder of the tournament until Sunday. Only a handful of players had made the turn, with second-round leader Andy Bean playing only four holes when play was halted.
Rain was expected to continue through the evening but the forecast calls for scattered showers Sunday. The third round is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. with the fourth round to follow after new pairings are announced.
Bean, who made five birdies in a six-hole span Friday to take a one-shot lead, parred all four holes he played to remain atop the leaderboard at 10-under 134, two strokes ahead of John Cook.
Officials moved up tee times nearly two hours at Sonoma Golf Club on Saturday in anticipation of the worst part of the storm but most of the field played in a steady downpour before play was halted at 10:16 a.m. Players and caddies scrambled for cover and fans boarded shuttles for parking lots as steady, hard rains soaked the 7,111-yard course.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate officials could choose to end the tournament after 54 holes. There is also the option of postponing the fourth round until Monday.
“If we get any drying of the golf course tonight and tomorrow morning we still should be able to get a 72-hole golf tournament in,” tournament director Brian Claar said. “If it’s not playable at 7:15 a.m. we’ll have to re-evaluate and look at other options.”
The tournament is not only the last of the season for the Champions Tour but it will also determine who wins the Schwab Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the tour’s season-long points competition. All three players in contention for the Cup struggled in the rain Saturday.
Jay Haas, who entered the week leading Fred Funk by 12 points for the Cup and its $1 million annuity, had three bogeys and a double-bogey to fall to 2 under while Funk was 1 over on the day and sat at 2 over for the tournament. Bernhard Langer also had three bogeys and dropped to 2 over when play stopped.
“We will go to Monday in a few select events and with the prestige of this event, this is one of those,” Claar said. “But as of right now Monday’s forecast doesn’t look that hot either.”
Cook had three birdies to move to 8-under 136 but was facing a second bogey when play was halted.
“As bad as I’ve ever seen,” Cook said of the conditions. “The rain you can handle. You just have to stay dry somehow. But the golf course was completely under water. Towels were wet. Even the dry towels were wet.”