Torrential Rain, Dangerous Lightning Suspend Second Round of Zurich Classic

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Lee Janzen, left, and Alex Cejka shake hands on the 18th green after completing the second round of the Zurich Classic golf tournament in Avondale, La., Friday, April 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)The Zurich Classic will feature a busy Saturday after inclement weather forced a stoppage of play in the second round early Friday afternoon in Avondale.

Play was halted at 12:57 p.m. with only 47 of 152 players completing their second round.  Play was officially suspended for the day at 5:21 p.m. and will resume at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

The PGA Tour used excellent judgment calling all people off the course with enough time to avoid what could have been dangerous circumstances.  A cypress tree was destroyed by a spectacular bolt of lightning on the 11th hole, an event captured on national television.

Two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen took advantage of the morning conditions and posted a bogey-free round of 66, placing him tied for the lead at 7 under par with Alex Cejka (70-67), Brian Davis (71-66), Greg Owens (with one hole left to play) and first round leader Jason Bohn who was not able to start his round.

Greg Chalmers was able to complete his second round to finish at 6-under par (70-66).  The following players at 6 under par who have not completed their second round:

Lyle Jarrod – First round 70 – Friday 4-under thru 14 holes

David Duval – First round 68 – Friday 2-under thru 4 holes

Rounding out the top ten at 5 under par is Chris Riley who completed his second round (73-66) before the weather stopped play.

 

There are presently 75 players at one under or better. The top 70 plus ties will make the cut.

Players of local interest have had decent starts to the tournament so far. Phil Schmitt of Baton Rouge, who had a stellar career at LSU from 1993-95, is five -under par on in the second round .  His score of 74 yesterday puts him three under for the tournament and in 23rd place.  Schmitt gained entry into the tournament as the current Gulf States Section PGA Champion.

Also at three-under is another former LSU golfer, David Toms, who shot 69 Thursday and sits even thru two holes in his second round.

Second-Round Notes – Friday, April 23, 2010

Weather: Partly cloudy in the morning, giving way to cloudy skies and rain in the afternoon with temperatures in the lower 80s. SSE winds at 5-15 mph.

Because of a dangerous weather situation, play was suspended at 12:57 p.m. 47 of 151 players managed to complete their second rounds prior to the suspension. This is the 10th of 18 PGA TOUR events this season to experience a suspension/delay of play. Play was called for the day at 5:21 p.m. due to a continued dangerous situation.

A total of 2 ½ inches of rain fell in just under three hours Friday.

Prior to the weather delay, Lee Janzen took advantage of benign course conditions with a bogey-free, 6-under 66, certain to snap a string of four consecutive missed cuts headed into this week. He has yet to make a bogey this week.

Lee Janzen’s 66 matches his lowest round of the year. He posted the same number in round three of the Bob Hope Classic.

As opposed to taking 31 putts in round one, Lee Janzen needed just 24 putts en route to his 66 in round two.

Lee Janzen is making his eighth start at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in a span of 21 years, dating back to 1990. His 66 in round two is his lowest round ever in this event. His only missed cut in New Orleans was in 2005.

Lee Janzen is making his 10th start of the year, with just three made cuts in his previous nine starts. His best finish of the year so far is a T24 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

As evidence that conditions favored the early groups, consider this; the first group off in round two (7:00 a.m.) consisted of  Lee Janzen, Alex Cejka and Chris Riley. Janzen and Riley both posted 66s, with Cejka in with a 5-under 67, a combined total of 17-under par.

Alex Cejka is also among those at 7-under following his second-round, 5-under 67. It is his best score in this event in all six previous starts.

Prior to this week, Alex Cejka had made 10 starts in 2010, in which he made the cut five times. His best finish of the season thus far is a T10 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

For the second straight day, Alex Cejka hit 12 of 18 greens. The difference was in putting once he hit those greens. In round two, he took 25 putts, four fewer than in round one.

Alex Cejka remains in search of his first PGA TOUR win in his 217th start this week. He is the owner of 11 International titles.

Brian Davis also enjoyed the mild morning conditions, and possibly some good karma, by posting a 6-under 66, highlighted by a string of four consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 18-3. Davis drew the attention of the sports world at last week’s Verizon Heritage when he called a 2-stroke penalty on himself which cost him a potential playoff win over Jim Furyk. Had he won, it would’ve been Davis’ first career PGA TOUR win.

Brian Davis’ second-round 66 matches his low round of the year. He first posted the score in round three of last week’s Verizon Heritage.

Although he is ranked 108th in putting on TOUR this year, Brian Davis took control of the flat stick in round two, needing just 22 putts.

Brian Davis is making his 5th start at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, with a best finish being T17 in his first start here in 2005.

Brian Davis is making his 11th start of the year, his best being a runner-up last week in Hilton Head.

Aussie Jarrod Lyle became the 21st player on TOUR this year to card two eagles in the same round. The first came at the  par-4 10th hole, his first of the day, where he holed out his second shot with a lob wedge from 92 yards. His next eagle came at the par-5 second hole, where he hit his second shot from 238 yards to within eight feet and made the putt. When play was suspended, Lyle had four holes remaining.

2002 Zurich Classic champion K.J. Choi followed his opening-round, 4-under 68 with an even-par 72 in round two. Choi will now have made the cut in each of his 10 starts this year, including a runner-up finish to Jim Furyk at the Transitions Championship and a T4 at the Masters Tournament.

K.J. Choi (69.38) currently lies 2nd in the PGA TOUR Scoring Average behind Anthony Kim (69.19). Charles Howell III (69.84) is 5th.

Sergio Garcia (73), at No. 23 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the highest-ranked player in the field this week after Steve Stricker (3) and Ian Poulter (6) withdrew on Wednesday. Garcia played in Wednesday’s pro-am with Zurich CEO Martin Senn, New Orleans Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu and NFL legend Archie Manning.

Farmers Insurance Group, a subsidiary of Zurich, will donate $50 for every birdie made during the weekend rounds of the Zurich Classic on behalf of the Fore!Kids Foundation. The donation will go to the March of Dimes via the Birdies for Babies program. Farmers made a similar contribution during the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego earlier this year.

Louisiana native David Toms (69) has yet to post a top-10 this season. Last year, Toms finished T5 at the Zurich Classic, making his way into the top-10 of the FedExCup standings to earn a trip to THE PLAYERS Championship.

The Zurich Classic is the final week to gain entry to THE PLAYERS Championship via the FedExCup points list. Rickie Fowler, at No. 21 in the FedExCup standings (through Verizon Heritage), is the highest-ranked player not otherwise qualified for THE PLAYERS. Derek Lamely (77) is No. 35. Those not qualified among the top-10 in the FedExCup standings through Zurich earn exemptions into THE PLAYERS. If the field is less than 144 at that point, those players No. 11 and beyond in the FedExCup standings not previously eligible gain entry until the field is complete at 144.

The par-three, 215-yard, 17th hole at TPC Louisiana is this week’s Kodak Challenge hole for the second year in a row. Last year, just two birdies were recorded at the 17th in the final round, and a total of 33 birdies for the week. Eight birdies were recorded in the opening round, including one by Jimmy Walker (72), moving him into a 4-way tie for second in the Kodak Challenge at 6-under, one stroke behind leader Rickie Fowler.

A number of players withdrew from the Zurich Classic early in the week. On Tuesday afternoon Brett Wetterich was replaced by Steve Elkington. Later that evening Matt Every pulled out with a broken finger which allowed Skip Kendall into the field. Elkington decided to stay at home to watch his daughter play on her high school golf team which got Paul Stankowski into the field. Stankowski, in Valdosta, GA getting ready to play the Nationwide Tour’s South Georgia Classic, got in a car and drove to New Orleans on Wednesday. Ian Poulter withdrew with a left knee injury after starting the pro-am on Wednesday. Marco Dawson was next in line for a spot in the field but declined, deciding to stay in Georgia for the Nationwide Tour event. Instead, Mark Hensby made his way to New Orleans. After Steve Stricker completed the pro-am he withdrew with a clavicle injury and Billy Mayfair took his spot.

With one hole remaining at the time of the delay, Bill Lunde withdrew from the tournament citing a shoulder injury.

Vance Veazey withdrew during the weather delay with a shin injury.

Tim Wilkinson withdrew during the weather delay with a finger injury.

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