Curtis relieved to finish at delayed Travelers

Ben Curtis

Ben Curtis

CROMWELL, Conn. – When you roll yourself out of bed in the middle of the night to make sure you’re prepared for a 6:50 a.m. tee time, you deserve a bit of a break.

That’s why Ben Curtis could manage a smile as he walked up a steep hill toward the scoring trailer at TPC River Highlands. Claps of thunder were heard as Curtis hit his second shot into the 18th, then the dreaded air horn sounded less than 30 seconds after he tapped in to complete a 1-under 69 in the first round of the Travelers Championship.

“That’s sweetness,” Curtis said, indicating he thought it was the first time he finished a round that closely. Usually, he said, he gets stuck out on the course.

Now he wasn’t the clubhouse leader – playing competitor Kris Blanks shot 68 – but with gray skies becoming darker by the minute, Curtis wasn’t sure how long a day players were in for, but that wasn’t his concern. Done is done, and it sure felt good.

For the record, Curtis and Blanks were among the lucky six who finished; their playing competitor, Scott Stallings, did, too, and so did the pairing of Paul Goydos, Steve Elkington and Graham DeLaet. As for the other 150 players, well, it was a long and wet day that basically proved all for naught. With play called at 11:28 in the morning, the re-start was scheduled for 5:45 p.m., and even the afternoon wave of players were prepared to push off at 6 p.m. Then the rain fell again, hard, and officials suggested they’d start at 6:30. Finally, just before 6, officials decided it wasn’t worth it, so waves of very wet players and caddies headed home.

Play will hopefully resume at 7 a.m. Friday, but a word of caution – there’s a 30 percent chance of rain.

Hey, you could argue that Curtis is owed a bit of a break, because five years ago he was in the thick of things at the Booz Allen Classic, which took something like 17 days to complete. Actually, it was only six, the first PGA Tour tournament in 26 years that went to Tuesday, but Curtis figures he has a record that may never be broken.

“Five nights I went home as the leader and had to sleep on that,” Curtis said.

The fact that the week ended with him winning his second tournament made the long, wet wait well worth it, Curtis said. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t appreciate getting his first round in here.

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