Whitsett, Alabama run out to Linger Longer leads
EATONTON, Ga. – Wind and cold? No problem.
A hard rain? That’s okay.
A 138-minute delay in play? Just an inconvenience.
In fact, the only thing that was able to stop Alabama on the first day of the Linger Longer Invitational at the Great Waters Golf Course was darkness.
After the long weather delay in Saturday morning’s first round, the scheduled second round was unable to be completed when it became too dark.
When play was officially called off for the day, the Crimson Tide, No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings held a 13-shot lead and stood at 13 under in the 14-team field.
Players will complete their second rounds -- anywhere from three to eight holes --first thing Sunday morning and then go right into playing the third and final round with hopes of the tournament getting in all of its scheduled 54 holes.
However, another storm is supposed to come through the Lake Oconee area late Saturday evening and carry over to Sunday where the forecast calls for thunderstorms throughout much of the day.
Alabama, the first-round leader after a 7-under 281, was 6 under for the afternoon when play was stopped. Bobby Wyatt was leading that second-round effort, standing at 3 under in the afternoon, while Scott Strophmeyer was 2 under and Justin Thomas 1 under.
Tournament co-host Kennesaw State and Oklahoma State were a distant second at even par for the tournament followed by Georgia Tech, which was 5 under in the afternoon round, at 2 over and Georgia at 5 over.
Alabama junior Cory Whitsett, who opened with a 5-under 67, was even par in the afternoon and shared the lead with Oklahoma’s Michael Gellerman, who is playing as an individual. Four players are next at 4 under.
Alabama is looking for its third consecutive victory in the Linger Longer as well as its third win in four starts this spring and fourth overall on the season. In their last outing, the Crimson Tide shot 33 under for a 10-stroke victory in the Schenkel Invitational.
Whitsett also is seeking his third consecutive individual Linger Longer title this weekend, combining to shoot 21 under over his previous six rounds in this event coming in. Earlier this spring the Tide junior tied for first at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in Las Vegas.
The opening round began at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) under an overcast sky and temperatures in the low 40s. The wind picked up and less than an hour later the rain came. The field played on as the rain came down harder and harder.
Then came some thunder and a flash of lightning and play was stopped and players ordered off the course at 10:20 a.m. At that point, Alabama and Oklahoma share the team lead at 3 under.