Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

May 2, 2014

A rainy day feeling again at the Classic

VALDOSTA — It wasn't the first bad bout Lee Janzen has had with Mother Nature rearing her ugly head. And Thursday's first round of the South Georgia Classic at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club also wasn't the worst.

But two rain delays Thursday morning still added up to a long day, one in which dealing with the down time can be as crucial as dealing with the golf course.

“In Canada in 2008, we had eight stoppages of play from Thursday through Sunday, and we ended up playing 36 holes on Monday to finish the tournament,” said Janzen, a two-time U.S. Open champion. “So that was about as bad as I've ever experienced it.

“But yeah, I've been through it a bunch of times. I can look back my rookie year the first couple times we had a rain delay, I didn't have a clue what to do with myself. You just learn. You shut it off. And then you just start it over like it's a brand new round.”

The brand new rounds started early, as just 40 minutes after play began in the first round, play was suspended at 7:58 a.m. with 29 players on the course. Two hours and five minutes later, play resumed and lasted for a little more than 90 minutes through intermittent rain. However at 11:35 a.m., golfers — this time 78, or the entire field with morning tee times — were again pulled from the course. The second delay lasted three hours, leaving a slew of worn out golfers, with more long days to follow with half the field still needing to finish the first round today.

“Tired,” said Jeff Curl, who was tied for the lead at 5-under after dealing with an issue in his lower back. He added that he received four adjustments through the course of the day from a chiropractor on hand at Kinderlou. “Looking forward to a good night's rest and sitting around tomorrow watching some other guys play.”

Still the delays aren't all bad. Andrew Putnam, who is a stroke behind Curl and Carlos Ortiz, and was on the course both times play was suspended, said the down time allows for some fun as well.

“You're with your friends hanging out in the clubhouse so it's not too bad,” he said. “I tried not to hit too many balls on the range because if I would have done the full warm every time, I would have hit 500 balls and just been worn out.

“I tried to just take it easy and be laid back about it.”

Ortiz, the Tour money leader and who shares the lead after Day 1, definitely took it easy as he was staying in private housing right off the course.

“The first time I went inside and hung out, and the second time, as soon as they pulled me out I went straight to my car,” Ortiz said. “I went right there and caught up with a TV series, “The Following,” that I'm watching and laid down for a little bit.

“I saw that it was getting nice outside so I came back, ate a little bit and started hitting balls again. I didn't need to go far.”

In addition to time to hang out with friends, though, the delays also lead to a lot of opportunity to raid the clubhouse kitchen, said Janzen.

“What usually ends up happening is you end up eating the clubhouse out of all their food,” Janzen pointed out. “So in Canada, I don't know what the bill was for a normal tournament but in Canada, it was probably four times as much because of all the food to feed the players that week. We were in there eating all day more than we were playing.”

Thursday's rainy start followed delays and ultimately cancellations of Wednesday's Pro-Am, which featured morning and afternoon tee times. Tuesday's Junior Clinic in conjunction with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority was also wiped out by rain.

And the wet weather likely isn't over either. There is a 70 percent chance of rain today, picking up throughout the day according to The Weather Channel. The storms are to move out of the area though after that with just a 10 percent chance of rain Saturday and then clear skies Sunday.

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