Laning leads rain-delayed Chitimacha Louisiana Open

Drew Laning grabbed the clubhouse lead by hitting 31 of 36 greens in regulation thus far, including 17 on Friday.
March 27, 2009
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Staff

BROUSSARD, La. -- Drew Laning admits he usually doesn't play very well this time of year because it's normally his off-season. The 26-year-old rookie already has four starts under his belt, and figures his recent efforts Down Under have given him a jump on the 2009 campaign.

Inside the Numbers
Laning thru 36 Holes
Category Total Rank
Eagles 0 N/A
Birdies 10 T3
Pars 24 T45
Bogeys 2 T116
Double Bogeys 0 N/A
Other 0 N/A
Driving Accuracy 84.6% T12
Driving Distance 271.3 yds. T97
Greens in Regulation 86.1% 2
Putts per Round 30.5 T113
Putts per GIR 1.742 43
Sand Saves 0 N/A
Note: A total of 66 players will finish the second round on Saturday.

Two days of stop-and-start play in the weather-delayed Chitimacha Louisiana Open find Laning at the top of the leaderboard with an 8-under 134 total. Laning posted a 5-under 66 Friday at the Le Triomphe Country Club, which had been soaked by more than five inches of rain after two nights of heavy thunderstorms.

Laning owns a one-stroke clubhouse lead over former U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson (64), Neal Lancaster (68), Josh Broadaway (68) and Monday qualifier Michael Arnaud (65).

Geoffrey Sisk (65) and LSU grad Scott Sterling (69) are in at 6-under 136, two back.

Officials weren't able to get 45 players back on the golf course until mid-morning to finish Round 1, pushing the start of Round 2 well into the late afternoon. The second round was halted at 7:05 p.m. due to darkness with almost half the field left on the course. They'll need to come back Saturday morning before the 36-hole cut can be made.

Of those on the course, South African Garth Mulroy, a North Carolina State grad, is 9 under through 12 holes. First-round co-leader Michael Sims is at 8 under through 10 holes. Josh Teater is 7 under through 15 holes, Fran Quinn, another first-round co-leader, is 7 under through 12 holes and Bob Sowards is also at 7 under through 10.

Laning, in the interim, holds the first lead of his brief Nationwide Tour career.

"I knocked the rust off early in Panama and then went over to Australia and played pretty well in New Zealand both weeks," said Laning, whose best finish so far was a tie for 25th at the Michael Hill New Zealand Open two weeks ago. "I kind of surprised myself. The good thing is that at this time of the year I don't have too many expectations and so everything is icing on the cake right now."

It's all sugar and sweets for Laning, who has hit 31 of 36 greens thus far, including 17 on Friday.

"People are going to make birdies the rest of the week," said Laning, who has 10 to his credit. "I hit it close on a couple par 3s, made some good putts and took advantage of a couple par 5s. I added it up afterwards and it was pretty good."

It was even better for Dickerson, who had three birdies and an eagle on a five-hole stretch on the front nine.

"I was 5 under through the holes you're supposed to score on," said the Florida resident, who tinkered with ball positioning following an opening round of even-par 71. "It was a little too far back. That helped me hit it more on line and I started playing a lot better. The putts started going in."

Everything was better for Dickerson, who hadn't bettered 69 in four previous starts and 14 total rounds this year.

"I've been playing a lot of rounds where I had one birdie and one bogey, three birdies and two bogeys," said Dickerson. "I've hit it good enough to get it going and be under par, but my putter has let me down. That's the bottom line with me, it comes down to putting."

Dickerson needed only 26 on Friday after hitting 14 greens in regulation. His only misstep was a "too relaxed" tee shot on the par-3 16th that wound up left of the green and resulted in his only bogey of the day.

"It was a pretty easy 7-iron and I just made a bad swing," he said. "It was nice to get a bounce-back birdie on 17."

Second-Round Notes: Overnight thunderstorms produced 2.5" of rain in the Lafayette area. ... The first-round resumed at 9:45 a.m. with 45 players on the course completing play. ... Second-round play began at 10:05 a.m. The last tee time of the day was 4:40 p.m. ... A total of 66 players did not complete the second round. Those players will be in position on the course and resume second-round play at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. Following completion of the round, the top 60 players (and ties) will make the 36-hole cut.