CONOVER, N.C. -- First-round play at the Champions Tour's 2007 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn was suspended for the day early Friday afternoon after the Jones Course at Rock Barn Golf & Spa became unplayable.
More than two inches of rain fell early in the morning, forcing officials to delay the start of the opening round from 7:45 a.m. until 10:20 a.m. Another band of rain then came through the Catawba Valley and saturated the course. Play was originally suspended at 11:45 a.m. and then called for the day at 1:30 p.m.
When the horn sounded at 11:45 a.m., 54 players were out on the golf course, having gone off both the 1st and 10th tees. No player had made it past the sixth hole but, after just five, Rod Spittle leads at 3-under after rattling off four straight birdies following an opening-hole bogey. Jerry Pate, Allen Doyle and Bob Gilder are one stroke back.
The first round is now scheduled to resume with players in position at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. The second round is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. with professionals remaining in the same group as Round 1.
"There's just too much standing water in some of the fairways for us to play under the Rules of Golf," Champions Tour Tournament Director Ben Nelson said. "Even after our early delay this morning, I was optimistic that we could get the first round in but Mother Nature had other ideas today.
"We have a good weather forecast for the weekend, so I think we have a good chance to have a 54-hole winner come late Sunday afternoon. "
Two years ago at this event, Friday's opening round was suspended for the day at 4 p.m. with 68 players on the course when it became unplayable.