Sixty-four golfers were out on the course when lightning halted play a little over an hour after the final group teed off at 2:25 p.m. Although the tournament resumed one hour later, play was suspended for the second time at 5:06, and steady rainfall poured into the area for nearly an hour, soaking the course.
After an hour-and-a-half delay, tournament officials ultimately determined the course to be unplayable and elected to resume the second round today at 7:30 a.m. Weather permitting, the third round is expected to start at noon, with the field cut to the top 70 and ties, as well as those within 10 shots of the leader.
William Mitchell wasn’t affected by the weather delay. The BridgeMill Athletic Club member teed off during the morning session and completed his round on the 7,104-yard, par-72 course at even par.
Overall, Mitchell is tied for fifth at 2-under 142, four shots off the pace set by Michael Garretson.
Mitchell began the day at 2 under, but he found himself at 1 over after 14 holes Friday. Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 6 and 7 moved him to 1 under, and another birdie at No. 9 provided him with the strong finish to his round.
“There wasn’t anything really going wrong for me (Friday),” Mitchell said. “I hit a few bad shots and short-sighted myself and didn’t get the ball up-and-down. The bogeys weren’t horrible bogeys, but I was patient and was able to grind it out. I birdied three of the last four holes to finally get it back to where I started. It wasn’t great, but I kept myself in the tournament.
“I’ve played golf a long time, and I know that, if you start to force the issue, generally things don’t happen well. It’s still the second round of the tournament, and it’s still early. There was a point when the thought did cross my mind: ‘OK, let’s kind of get this thing under control and see what happens if we can make one birdie.’ That’s kind of what happened. I was aware of where I was, but I wasn’t overly concerned.”
Someone else who likely isn’t overly concerned is Woodstock resident Mark Strickland, who is tied for 20th at 1-over 145 and will make the cut after shooting 74 in his second round.
Canton’s Justin Johnson recovered from a first-round 77 and shot 70 on Friday. He is tied for 41st at 3 over and is also in position to make the cut, which is projected at 7 over.
Former Etowah golfer David Sullivan went into Friday’s weather delay at 6 over for the tournament. He finished his first round at 3 over and was through seven holes Friday when play was suspended.
“I started on the back nine (Friday), which is playing tougher,” Sullivan said. “It’s a little bit longer and I struggled a little bit. I three-putted twice, and that killed me. But I’m starting to get into a groove, so, hopefully, I can carry that groove into (today) and play the front nine well.
“It was somewhat frustrating to have the delay. You get into a zone or groove, so, when that happens, your groove kind of stops and you lose everything you have going. I was anticipating getting more strokes in, but they never came because of the delays.”