Garcia leads by one at Wyndham as rain pushes finish to early Monday

Sergio Garcia at the Wyndham Championship
Getty Images
Sergio Garcia, looking for his first PGA Tour win in four seasons, hopes to close out a victory in the first Monday finish in Greensboro since 1983.
By
Joedy McCreary
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012 | 6:02 p.m.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It's been four years since Sergio Garcia's last PGA Tour victory. He'll have to wait one more day before he can try to finish this one off.

And a downpour at the Wyndham Championship meant another day of uncertainty for others on the playoff bubble.

Garcia had the lead at 15 under through four holes Sunday when the final round in the last event before the FedExCup playoffs was suspended for the day because of heavy rain.

Tim Clark, Jason Dufner and Bud Cauley were 14 under through varying stages of their rounds, and 38 players -- half the field -- were still on the course when play was stopped.

After waiting roughly 2 hours, 20 minutes, officials decided to bring them back to Sedgefield Country Club at 9:00 a.m. ET Monday to crown a champion and figure out who qualifies for the playoffs and who doesn't. It will be the first Monday finish in Greensboro since 1983.

Tour officials said more than 2 inches of rain fell on the course since Saturday night and Mark Russell, the tour's vice president of rules and competition, said the 15th hole became "unplayable."

The stoppage came at 3:10 p.m. when the showers picked up, and it was expected to be only a brief delay, with the players initially staying on the course. Officials reversed that decision and brought them in a short while later.

Then, when the initially announced restart time of 5;00 p.m. was pushed back twice -- first to 5:30 p.m., then 6;00 p.m. -- it made it virtually impossible for the final pairing to finish 14 holes in the roughly two hours of remaining daylight and guaranteed a Monday finish.

The decision to suspend things was announced at 5:28 p.m.

"It started raining and just wouldn't stop. The golf course got to the point where it was saturated," Russell said. "We got to a point where we knew we couldn't finish ... so we made a decision that we would let it drain tonight, come back in the morning and be in position to resume play at 9 o'clock."

Clark, who started the day a stroke behind Garcia after letting a few birdie chances get away late in the third round, birdied two of his first four holes to match Garcia at 15 under. A bogey on the par-5 fifth -- the most frequently eagled hole on the course -- dropped him back a stroke, and he was in the fairway on No. 6 when the rain delay came.

"Obviously, we'd all like to continue playing," Clark said. "You get into a rhythm out there, and you'd like to keep going. But it's going to be the same for all of us. It's just a tough situation."

Garcia began the day at 14 under and had three pars and a birdie on the par-3 third. He was preparing for a 40-yard chip when play stopped.

Garcia, who hasn't won on tour since the 2008 Players Championship, also wants a spot on the European Ryder Cup team. The 10 automatic qualifiers will be set following the Johnny Walker Invitational, with Jose Maria Olazabal making two captain's picks.

Garcia certainly made a case for inclusion with his play this week, following his second-round 63 -- his lowest round on tour in a decade -- with a 66 that gave him a one-stroke lead entering the final round.

While Garcia continued his chase for that spot, other players were trying to secure a spot in the playoffs that begin later this week. The top 125 on the points list qualify for The Barclays at Bethpage Black.

Heath Slocum, who arrived at No. 128, was at 11 under through 13 holes and was at No. 120 on the projected standings.

Every stroke was critical for Y.E. Yang, who came to Greensboro at No. 129 and needed a strong final round to push his way into the postseason. He finished at 6 under following a third straight 69 and was projected to miss the playoffs at No. 127 when play stopped.