ENDICOTT, N.Y. — Bernhard Langer topped the leaderboard at 7 under when first-round play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open was suspended because of rain Friday.
Coming off a victory two weeks ago in the 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn., Langer was facing an 8-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole when play was stopped at En-Joie Golf Course.
“I played pretty solid. I drove the ball very well. I hit a lot of fairways to give myself opportunities with my iron shots,” said Langer, who closed with a 62 in his victory in Minnesota. “I’m disappointed we had to stop because I was going well, feeling good, but hopefully we’ll continue tomorrow.”
After 1.7 inches of rain fell Tuesday night, the course couldn’t hold much more water Friday before it became unplayable. Gene Smith, assistant tournament director for the Champions Tour, said it would’ve taken at least an hour for the course to become playable again once the rain stopped.
“We have several fairways out there that are totally under water. If a player was trying to take relief from casual water, he would probably have to go about 40 yards from where the ball is on the fairway,” Smith said. “We’re not going to play that way.”
Defending champion John Huston, Willie Wood and Chien Soon Lu were 5 under. Willie Wood, one of only 12 players to complete the round, shot a 67. Huston had three holes left, and Lu had nine to go.
Langer said he’s going to have to wake up at about 4:30 a.m. to get to the range at ahead of the 7:30 a.m. start. While he doesn’t have many holes to go before he finishes his first round, he’ll have plenty of waiting around to do before the start of his second round.
“There’ll be a lot of hanging around, preparing, warming up twice,” Langer said. “It’s just going to make a long day, that’s all.”
Tournament director John Karedes said the course drains well because the fairways are either sand- or gravel-based. New drainage also was installed after En-Joie had major flooding because of Tropical Storm Lee last September. But this week’s rain was too much for it to handle.
“Just when that amount of rainfall that happens so fast,” Karedes said, “no amount of drainage is going to help on that.”