Golf continued to take a back seat to the weather at the Nationwide Tour’s Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open on Friday. An early afternoon storm dumped more water on the Bogota Country Club and forced officials to halt play, pushing the completion of the first round into Saturday morning.
“To put it bluntly, the tub is full,” said Nationwide Tour Tournament Director Jim Duncan. “The added rains today have overflowed it. Honestly, I think we’ve pushed the limit thus far to play as much as we have.”
When play was stopped at 12:55 p.m., half the field had finished the opening round and the other half was scattered around the golf course. The lead groups had completed 13 holes, the last ones only a handful.
Overnight rains pushed the resumption of Friday’s play back an hour in the morning to prepare the golf course. Play lasted a total of 4:20 before the rains returned. Thursday’s opening day featured 7 1/2 hours of delays and only 3 1/2 hours of play.
“For all of the people who have worked so hard to get ready for this event, it’s disappointing,” said Colombian native Camilo Benedetti, who completed a 4-under 67 in the morning. “We all wanted this to be a showcase event and so far we haven’t been able to do that.”
The plan now calls for the first round to resume at 7:30 Saturday morning. Round 2 is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m.
“Mathematically, 72 holes is out at this point,” said Duncan. “Our goal is to finish 54 holes by Sunday. Our regulations do not allow us to play on Monday.”
The second event on the 2011 schedule may be hard-pressed to complete three rounds if there are additional delays this weekend. The forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of more rain on both Saturday and Sunday.
“We all knew the course couldn’t take much more,” said Benedetti, who grew up in Medellin, some 250 miles away. “We figured a light rain would be enough and we got more than that. I played two holes this morning in casual water because there just wasn’t anyplace to take a drop.”
A glance at the partially completed leaderboard has five players sharing the lead with 5-under-par 66s. Matthew Giles, Garth Mulroy, Darron Stiles, J.J. Killeen and Colombia’s David Vanegas were safely tucked away in the clubhouse or back at the hotel, knowing they wouldn’t begin their second rounds until Saturday.
Benedetti, Mark Anderson, Ewan Porter and Tyrone Van Aswegen are tied for sixth place at 67.
“You never know when play might stop so you know that every shot is going to count,” said Killeen. “You have to concentrate on every shot.”
Killeen was at even par through 12 holes Thursday, but returned Friday morning and posted three birdies and an eagle to grab a share of the lead.
“I knew I had six holes to play this morning and I was ready to roll,” he said. “I played great yesterday but it’s putting. That’s what it is. I holed some putts on the back nine and on the front nine I didn’t.”
He didn’t even need a putter on the par-5 18th, where his sand wedge from 115 yards spun back into the cup for an eagle-3.