N. Thompson leads Nationwide South Georgia Classic after weather delays

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PGA.com news services

Series:

There might be 13 hours of sunlight in a given day this time of year, but the players at the Nationwide Tour’s South Georgia Classic spent only four of those hours on the golf course due to dangerous weather during Thursday’s first round. Only half of the 156 players in the field made their way onto Kinderlou Forest Golf Club’s 7,781-yard, par-72 track, and the first round will continue at 7:50 a.m. on Friday.

Despite not a single player completing 18 holes on Thursday, Nicholas Thompson is the overnight leader at 5 under through 11 holes. There are currently four tied at 4 under par: former University of South Carolina Gamecock Kyle Thompson, Florida State University graduate Jonas Blixt, former Auburn Tiger Gary Christian and this year’s Panama Claro Championship winner Mathew Goggin. Nine players are two strokes back at 3 under par.

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2011 SOUTH GEORGIA CLASSIC

The Kinderlou Forest Golf Club layout, which stretches 7,781 yards, is the longest course on either the Nationwide Tour or PGA Tour this year.

Eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star John Smoltz received a sponsor’s exemption, and is making his first start in a PGA Tour co-sanctioned event. The 43-year-old who carries a +2 handicap played eight holes recording one birdie, three pars, three bogeys and a double bogey to sit at 4 over par.

Thursday turned out to be a long day at the office for Nicholas Thompson, but he’s happy about where he stands.

“It’s tough with all the starting and stopping, but you can’t let that keep you from trying your hardest to put up a good number,” said Thompson, who made five birdies and six pars. “I’m rolling the rock well right now and I just want to keep my momentum going.”

Kyle Thompson managed his time off the course almost as well as he managed his game.

“I knew we were going to have some delays today so I brought a book,” said the two-time Nationwide Tour winner. “I pulled a veteran move.”

A thunderstorm rolled in at 7:45 a.m. with four groups on the course, halting play for five hours and 15 minutes. The sun made an appearance after lunch and play resumed at 1:00 p.m. but officials were forced to blow the horns again at 3:30 p.m. when inclement weather surrounded the course. The first round resumed at 7:00 p.m. and play was suspended when darkness fell at 8:05 p.m.

In anticipation of a torrential downpour, tournament officials determined the first round would be played with preferred lies. The preferred lies rule will be in effect through the remainder of the first round.

First-Round Notes:

--Play was suspended for a total of eight hours and 45 minutes. The afternoon wave for the first round will begin Friday morning at 8:50 a.m.

--Jason Enloe and Andrew Giuliani were paired with John Smoltz. Enloe, the first-round leader, holed out for eagle on the par-4 12th hole from 188 yards with a 6-iron.

--John Huston withdrew at the conclusion of play. He completed 13 holes.