Stuard leads rain-ravaged Zurich Classic

Brian Stuard. AFP PHOTO

Brian Stuard.

LOS ANGELES: Brian Stuard and the other leaders never hit a third-round shot on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as Zurich Classic of New Orleans was halted by thunderstorms, raising the chance of a Monday finish for the event.

Stuard, seeking his first professional victory, finished off a four-under-par 68 in round two on Saturday morning, making four birdies while closing on the front nine to take a one-stroke lead over Jamie Lovemark and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas.

Lovemark carded a 66 and Vegas a 69 — both wrapping up their second rounds on Friday, when there was no weather delay but darkness stopped play in a tournament still trying to catch up from a delay on Thursday.

Stuard, who had a 36-hole total of 12-under par 132, said it was too soon to start thinking about a victory.

“We have a long way to go. I’m just kind of focusing on the next shot, and we’ll see what happens,” added the American, who is playing in his 101st PGA Tour tournament with his best results second-place finishes in the 2010 and 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

An Byeong-Hun of South Korea, the 2014 winner in New Orleans, posted a second straight 68 and was three shots back in a tie for fourth with Harold Varner (67), Daniel Berger (65), Charles Howell (69), Patrick Rodgers (69) and Chad Collins (64).

World number one Jason Day of Australia was five strokes back in a group sharing 10th after a 68 for 137.

“You’ve got to try and stay in the right frame of mind mentally,” Day, who has won seven times in the last 15 months, said of waiting out the weather delays.

“Try and keep yourself loose. Because there is a lot of sitting around, a lot of eating, and all that other stuff. But you’ve got to try and remind yourself that you need to stay sharp.”

More rain was forecast for Sunday, and tournament director Steve Carman said any further weather delays would result in a Monday finish.



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