Six Tied at Weather-Plagued Colonial


Crowne Plaza Invitational at ColonialFORT WORTH, Texas -- Scott Verplank has set himself up for the chance at a rare Texas two-step on the PGA TOUR.
Playing through periodic rain showers, Verplank had five birdies in 13 holes Saturday before the third round of the soaked Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial was suspended by impending darkness and more rain.
Verplank got to 9 under for a share of the lead with Rory Sabbatini, Pat Perez, Kevin Na, Arron Oberholser and Ben Curtis. Sabbatini had seven birdies and a bogey through 12 holes.
Last month in nearby Irving, Verplank had an emotional victory at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship -- the Texan's first tour win since 2001. The only person to win the Nelson and Colonial in the same year was Ben Hogan in 1946, the first Colonial.
Tim Clark, the 36-hole leader, drove his first tee shot into a bunker after not missing any fairways in the second round. He managed to save par on the par-5 opener, but bogeyed three of the next four holes to fall to 8 under.
Curtis had the lead when PGA TOUR officials suspended play, but players had the option of finishing their current holes. Curtis had a tap-in bogey at the 394-yard sixth hole after missing a 13-foot par putt.
Clark, Oberholser and Curtis were the last players to tee off -- at 5:50 p.m.. They have 12 holes to play Sunday before the fourth round can begin.
None of the 70 players who made the 36-hole cut completed their third rounds. Everybody had at least three more holes.
Things have been out of whack since two weather delays during the first round Thursday, when an afternoon thunderstorm flooded the course and play never resumed for half of the original 114-player field.
The second round was finally completed and the 36-hole cut made Saturday afternoon when 24 players managed to finish after the scheduled resumption was delayed 5 1/2 hours by more rain.
The 42-year-old Verplank, who grew up in Dallas, had always wanted to win the Nelson -- and finally did on his 21st try, the first one after Lord Byron died.
Verplank considers the Nelson his fifth major because of the man for which it's named -- and who used to write him encouraging notes. Verplank got to know Nelson as a teenager and played several rounds of golf with him.
Beside Hogan, only 12 players have won both Dallas-Fort Worth events. But none of the others have done it in the same year.
Rain-softened Hogan's Alley is far from its usual firm and fast conditions. And that led to record-low scoring through 36 holes at the traditional tree-lined layout that covers 7,054 yards and is virtually unchanged since Hogan won five times from 1946-59.
For the first time in the history of Colonial, the longest-serving continuos host of PGA TOUR event, the cut was under par. Only twice in 61 events had it been even-par -- in 1987 and 1997. There were 70 players who made the cut at 1-under 139.
Ted Purdy's approach at the 563-yard first hole went into a greenside bunker and submerged in standing water. Purdy got relief from the water, then blasted his shot inside 2 feet for a birdie. ... After a record 63 rounds under par in the first round, there were 64 more in the second.
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