RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – Skip Kendall topped the Puerto Rico Open leaderboard at 5 under after nine holes when first-round play was suspended because of darkness Friday in the rain-delayed PGA Tour event.
Heavy morning rain suspended play just 20 minutes after the first tee time and the round didn’t resume until 4:35 p.m. Downpours also forced the suspension of play Thursday, when 6.6 inches fell at oceanside Trump International Golf Club-Puerto Rico.
The 45-year-old Kendall holed a 7-iron shot from 159 yards for eagle on the par-4 10th on Thursday, then chipped in for birdie on the par-3 11th Friday morning. He also birdied the par-4 13th and par-3 16th.
“Overall, I hit some really quality shots out there. I like the way I’m playing right now, and hopefully that will continue,” Kendall said.
Richard S. Johnson and Kevin Streelman were at 4 under. Johnson completed eight holes, and Streelman played seven. John Daly was 1 under through eight.
Kendall has barely used his putter, which elicited some good-natured ribbing from his fellow players.
“Coming back into the clubhouse, I took a lot of heckling from the guys. `Are you not going to use your putter today? How’s that putting lesson I gave you working out?’ I took a lot of heck from the guys,” Kendall said.
Tournament chairman Sidney Wolf was looking forward to better weather for the weekend, but he said he was pleased with how the course was faring amid the rains.
“The golf course is in better shape than most of us knew it would be after 14-plus inches of rain. It’s held up very nicely,” Wolf said.
During the delay Friday, players lingered around the clubhouse when they weren’t practicing putting or testing their drivers.
At midday, an unusual strategy for drying the waterlogged course got under way. A helicopter belonging to Trump International Golf Club owner Jorge Diaz hovered over the first fairway, its powerful propeller acting as an enormous blowdryer.
Tommy Armour III withdrew Friday. He was replaced by alternate Grant Waite.