Monday finish on the cards in weather-hit New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS – Third-round play at the weather-disrupted Zurich Classic of New Orleans was suspended for the day after just 75 minutes of action, setting up the possibility of a Monday finish at the TPC Louisiana.
The golfers were called off the course at 2:15 p.m. ET (1815 GMT) because of approaching thunderstorms and four hours later officials abandoned any further prospect of play after 1.2 inches (30 millimetres) of rain had drenched the already sodden course.
Weather-permitting, play is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) on Sunday with preferred lies in operation due to the soggy conditions.
However, local forecasts predict a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms on Sunday, and an 80 percent likelihood on Monday.
The tournament has been severely behind schedule since the opening round on Thursday when nearly five hours of play was wiped out by thunderstorms.
When the weather-delayed second round was finally completed on Saturday morning, American journeyman Brian Stuard held a one-shot lead after recording four birdies in his last nine holes.
Seeking his first PGA Tour victory, Stuard continued to benefit from a putter he picked up last week in San Antonio as he fired a flawless four-under-par 68 on a rain-softened layout.
That left him at 12-under 132, a stroke in front of American Jamie Lovemark (66) and Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela (69), who both completed their rounds on Friday.
Stuard, who has twice been a runner-up on the PGA Tour but has mainly struggled on the U.S. circuit this season, was delighted to maintain his bogey-free form this week with a new putter.
“I had been having a hard time feeling like I was getting lined up right with my putts,” the 33-year-old told PGA Tour radio.
“I just picked this one up last week and it felt like I could just set it down and it was right where I was looking. It’s a nice feeling.”
Asked about the prospect of a first PGA Tour win, Stuard replied: “Obviously it would be great, but there’s a long ways to go so (I’ll) just kind of focus on the next shot and see what happens.”
Australian world number one Jason Day, who was also among the players who had to finish off the second round on Saturday, carded a 68 to sit five strokes off the pace. -Reuters