Nicolas Thompson has a share of the 54-hole lead at Annandale. (Revere/Getty Images)
By Rusty Hampton, special to PGATOUR.COM
MADISON, Miss. – Only two brother-sister combos have won events on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour.
Nicholas Thompson would like to make that three.
Thompson fired a third-round 7-under 65 Saturday to take a share of the lead going into Sunday’s final round of the storm-plagued Sanderson Farms Championship at Annandale Golf Club. If he claims his first PGA TOUR victory here, Thompson would join his sister, Lexi, in the winner’s circle on golf’s biggest stages.
The only other brother-sister combo with wins: Billy Kratzert and his sister Cathy Gehring, and Jim Gallagher Jr., and Jackie Gallagher-Smith.
“Hopefully it’ll be a great day for the Thompson family,” said Nicholas Thompson, whose sister is also in contention in this weekend’s Marathon Classic on the LPGA Tour.
Thompson stands at 17 under, and is tied with first- and second-round leader Daniel Summerhays, two ahead of Chad Campbell (65), Cameron Beckman (65), Kyle Reifers (65) and Woody Austin (67).
Summerhays was one back and looking at a 19-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th when play was suspended once again due to inclement weather, but returned to the course nearly an hour later to roll home his birdie bid and earn a share of the lead.
Play has been stopped or delayed each day because of rain, lightning or both. Tournament officials said Sunday’s final round will begin earlier than scheduled, at 8 a.m., with threesomes going off the first and tenth tees, in an effort to finish before storms that are forecast for Sunday afternoon.
Scott Stallings set the Annandale 72-hole scoring record last year at 24-under 264. That might be challenged Sunday if the weather holds.
“I don’t know what score it’s going to take, but it’s going to be a good one, regardless,” said Thompson. “Guys have gone low and the golf course is in perfect condition.”
Austin, a three-time winner PGA TOUR winner, is chasing his first title since 2007. The 49-year-old has played only three PGA TOUR events this year, missing the cut in each, and he’s made four of 10 cuts on the Web.com Tour. So the oft-animated Austin didn’t have big expectations coming in.
“Normally, I’d say I’m pretty happy,” said Austin, “but to finish the way I did was very disappointing.”
After getting to 17 under, Austin bogeyed two of his final five holes, including the par-5 18th, one of the easiest holes on the course.
“My ballstriking has been pretty good, but it’s going to be hard to get rid of that last hole,” Austin said. “Five to 10 guys are going to shoot low tomorrow. I didn’t need to throw away two shots like I did.”
By Rusty Hampton, Special to PGATOUR.COM
MADISON, Miss. – Five players were in the clubhouse tied for the lead and four more were one shot back Friday when darkness brought a halt to the second round of the storm-plagued Sanderson Farms Championship.
Fifty-nine players, including first-round leader Daniel Summerhays, were still on the course when play was stopped at Annandale Golf Club. They will complete their second rounds Saturday, beginning at 7 a.m. local time.
Vaughn Taylor (67-67), Fabian Gomez (70-64), Paul Stankowski (66-68), Troy Matteson (67-67) and Kyle Reifers (65-69) finished their second rounds and were tied at 10 under.
Summerhays, who fired a bogey-free 9-under 63 Thursday morning, bogeyed his first hole Friday afternoon but recovered to get to 10 under through eight holes when play was stopped.
Storms that drenched the course on Thursday threw the tournament off schedule. A two-hour lightning delay on Friday added to the trouble. Some players were forced to play as many as 36 holes on Friday. Many others played extra holes on another steamy, 90-degree day.
Stankowski, a two-time TOUR winner in the 1990s who has struggled the last six years, played 30 holes Friday. Asked about his day, he had two answers.
“Well, it was long,” he said. “And it was hot. But it was a good day.”
It was that way for a lot of guys.
With the lift, clean and place rule in effect for the second round, players took dead aim at the rain-softened greens. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III made his share of birdies, five each round, but ran into so much trouble on two holes that he stands at just 3 under (71-70) heading into the third round.
Love made triple bogeys on the easiest (par-5 fifth) and most difficult (par-4 14th) holes, but hung in there and stuck his second shot on the par-4 ninth (his final hole) to 3 feet and rolled in the birdie putt to reach 3 under -- right on the projected cut line heading into Saturday.