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Rain Muddies BOA Championship

2005 Bank of America ChampionshipCONCORD, Mass. -- Dr. Dirt is about to get a shower.
Brad Bryant, the senior golfer known for his wrinkled and fashion-challenged attire, is preparing for a shorter and wetter weekend at the Bank of America Championship starting Friday.
Tournament organizers have already cut a par-5 to a par-3 because of standing water, and they're not sure they'll be able to get in the regulation 54 holes.
'I've heard that if I hit it down the right side on No. 1, I might be able to catch a nice trout,' said Bryant, an avid fisherman and the Champions Tour player of the month for May.
Bryant won the Regions Charity Classic and finished second in the Senior PGA Championship last month -- giving him two firsts and two seconds in 10 tournaments this year. His first try in June was delayed when his flight from Orlando -- after a two-hour trip from Lakeland, Fla., -- was canceled on Wednesday because of the rain.
A day after what he called 'a four-hour drive to eat lunch at Burger King,' Bryant said in a conference call he was hoping the rain let up enough for him to catch another plane.
If and when he arrives at the Nashawtuc Country Club, he'll find pools in the fairways, puddles in the bunker and patches of mud throughout the course. The Concord area, which usually gets 48 inches of rain in a year, has absorbed 20 in the last five weeks, including about five inches in the last four days. And more rain was in the forecast.
'It's fully soaked,' said Paul Miller, the director of golf course operations. 'There's another front that looks like it's coming (Friday). Could be another inch, and that could be a big problem.'
Two days of Pro-Ams have been canceled, and players have been routed to area courses and ranges to practice. With the landing area of No. 9 under water -- and no prospect of drying it out -- it will be shortened from a 543-yard par-5 to a 130-yard par-3.
'It will be like playing the third shot,' said Champions Tour tournament director Ben Nelson.
That's OK with Bryant.
'The ninth hole does not fit me very good,' he said before being informed that it would be truncated. 'If they change it to a par 3, I certainly won't be sad about it.'
Miller has been unable to drain the course because the Sudbury River is high above its banks; it drains into the Merrimack River, which last month was at the center of New England's worst flooding in 70 years.
'This year, it's got no place to go,' Miller said.
Organizers are hoping to get in at least nine holes on Friday before the rain comes, and another nine Saturday after it stops. Sunday is supposed to be clear enough for a full round -- or two if necessary to make the tour's minimum of 36 holes for an official event.
'We're not on Plan A, for sure. We're not on Plan B. We're probably on E or F,' Miller said. 'We're constantly regrouping.'
The better news is that the greens and tees seem to be holding up well. Players will be encouraged to drive carts and stay on the cart paths.
Curtis Strange, who won the 1988 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, withdrew with a sore neck. He was replaced by Hajime Meshiai.
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