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All the rain on Saturday should help the scores improve on the monstrous South Course Sunday. (Cannon/Getty Images)

Saturday rains should help players shine on Sunday

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The vaunted South Course will play longer on Sunday, but its famous greens should be easier to hold. The putting surfaces also will be slower, making it easier to take a run at birdie putts.

By Dave Shedloski, PGATOUR.COM Senior Correspondent

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - The South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club was set up for scoring Saturday, and Andres Romero, with a record-tying 65, was the man who best took advantage before a series of thunderstorms washed out play for the rest of the day.

When the third round resumes at 7:15 a.m. EDT Sunday, there might not be any fire or fangs left in a layout that through the first two rounds had lived up to its reputation as a "monster."

With overnight preparations including a extra water on the greens and fairway landing areas and the rough topped off again at 3 1/2 inches, Oakland Hills was potentially easier, though no less troublesome. Romero's 5-under 65 on the 7,395 layout was achieved largely by keeping the ball in the fairway.

It was abetted by diminished winds and from the 25 mph bursts that swept throughout the grounds Thursday and Friday as well as overcast skies, which gave way to a series of cloudbursts that dumped a half-inch of rain on the South Course.

"The course was definitely there for some scoring if you could keep it in play and be careful on a few of the really tricky pin positions," said Chris DiMarco, who shot 72 playing alongside Romero. "But it was still difficult."

"It seems a little softer," Paul Azinger remarked after shooting 76. "It's still just really, really hard."

When play was halted at 2:16 p.m., 12 players were under par, though only Romero was in the clubhouse. Camilo Villegas stood 4 under through 14 holes, while three players - Prayad Marksaeng, Graeme McDowell, and Fredrik Jacobsen - had gotten to 3 under.

"Today it was definitely more playable and, yeah, it was easier to find the fairway," Villegas said. "So I hit a lot of fairways today, obviously a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of good looks at birdie."

There might be more of that Sunday.

"If weather comes in," Jim Furyk said after an early even-par 70, "it definitely favors the leaders. They should have to play in what we had to play in, but they will get a break if they can play after it rains."

Furyk couldn't have known that the leaders, players in the last three groups, would never tee off and will face 36 holes on Sunday, weather permitting.

The golf course will be soft and will play longer, but the famous Oakland Hills greens, firm, fast and undulating, should be easier to hold. The putting surfaces also will be slower, making it easier to take a run at birdie putts and to keep it around the hole on downhill attempts. There will be more break, however, in slower greens.

The net result of the wet weather from the standpoint of playability is that scores could continue to trend lower throughout the rest of the third round before the course again starts to dry out for the fourth round, which is scheduled to begin at 12:20 p.m.

"That to me is the most curious thing about this delay is the amount of moisture that's soaked up," said Steve Flesch, who was 2 under through 5 holes when play was suspended. "I don't expect the fairways to be that much softer because they drained so well. The greens are a little bit softer and a little bit slower. I look for guys to, one, actually have a chance of knocking it at the hole, and two, making more birdies."

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