Perrot Clubhouse Leader


Futures TourALBANY, N.Y. -- Much as Friday's rain-delayed first round of The City of Albany Futures Golf Classic started on one day and ended on the next, today's second round -- suspended for darkness at 7:47 p.m. -- will resume on Sunday. Twenty-two players will complete 36 holes, starting at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, before a tournament cut is made. The final round starts at 9 a.m. from split tees in what has become yet another weather-related endurance test.
'I'm finished and that's good,' said Nicole Perrot of Vina del Mar, Chile, the clubhouse leader who fired her second consecutive round of 2-under-par 69 to sit atop the leaderboard at 4-under 138. 'You have to play every single hole and every single round as well as possible because you never know. Things happen.'
Indeed, things do happen, especially when an unpredictable hurricane is moving your way up the East Coast. Players ran from the raindrops after an earlier weather system moved in on Friday. The Capital Hills at Albany course has just started drying out from several inches of rain that halted the first round and backed up play going into Sunday. Players in the tournament fields in Lima, Ohio and Beltsville, Md. -- events that were shortened to 36-hole competitions this season -- know that it pays to play 36 holes like you're being chased by a waterspout.
'You have to go out with the mindset that this is the last day,' said Virada (Oui) Nirapathpongporn of Bangkok, Thailand, who is 1-under-par at 141.
But even with the looming chance of inclement weather on Sunday, players also hope they have the opportunity to win the $70,000 tournament in 54 regulation holes on the 6,026-yard, par-71 course that is a new venue this season. Albany's mayor has been at the course watching all week and New York golf nuts, still excited about this summer's nearby U.S. Women's Open Championship, have curiously clutched pairing sheets, studying young talent they hope to see in future LPGA Tour events.
Amy Langhals of Kalida, Ohio, wants to be the first in line. Playing 32 holes today, the former LPGA Tour member says her day included one birdie and one bogey in 16 holes. Langhals, who stands at 4 under par overall, will return to complete two holes in her second round Sunday morning before starting the final round.
'It doesn't help to complain,' said Langhals, who admitted she got up at 3 a.m. today, watched The Weather Channel for an hour, then went back to sleep after she convinced herself that her home in Florida had survived Hurricane Charley's lashing winds. 'For me, it's just about having a solid tournament.'
Erica Blasberg, who finished nine holes of her first round this morning, completed her second round with a 3-under-par 68 and grabbed a clubhouse share of second at 139 (-3) alongside Julia Boros-Pettit of Plantation, Fla., Lisa Chang of Los Angeles, Kylie Pratt of Mackay, Australia and Katie Allison of Mahwah, N.J.
'I haven't set my alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. in a while,' said Blasberg, of Corona, Calif., winner of last month's tournament in New Hampshire. 'I played nine holes, went back to my hotel and watched a movie, then came back to the course for the second round.'
Lisa Chang, tied with the group at 3-under 139, said she played 10 holes of her first round and went back to her host housing and watched Olympic swimming before teeing it up for her second round.
'I'm tired and it was a long day,' said Chang. 'I was just trying to put myself into a good position.'
Kyeong Bae of Seoul, Korea, completed 16 holes of her first round this morning, posting a 5-under-par score of 66. Bae, 19, remained at 5-under par after 15 holes today and will return on Sunday to complete her last three holes, trying to hold off Langhals and Perrot for her first professional win in the U.S.
'I like the shape of the course, the hills and the elevated greens,' said Bae, who has won twice on the Korean LPGA Tour. 'It's a lot like Korea.'
After two days of delays, members of the Futures Golf Tour hope that Sunday's final round will give them a chance to complete play before the remnants of Hurricane Charley arrive in New York. Players are tired and muddied, but with only three more final-round Sundays remaining on the 2004 tournament schedule, they are eager to make a run at the wide-open title this weekend.
'Having been out here for six years now, I've been through a lot of delays,' said Colleen Cashman-McSween, who posted a second-round 69 to tie with four others at two-under 140. 'You learn to be patient and to wait. You can't fight the rain. Besides, I can sleep on Monday.'
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