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Mayfair in lead, weather winning



Published: Sat, April 2, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Mayfair was one of 63 players who did not finish their round.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DULUTH, Ga. -- Billy Mayfair was 4-under through 13 holes Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the first round of the rain-delayed BellSouth Classic, shortened to 54 after the stormy conditions wiped out the first two days of play.

After originally planning a 36-hole finish Monday to complete 72 holes, PGA Tour official Slugger White said the players will play only a single round Monday. The forecast for today is for temperatures in the 60s with 10-15 mph wind, and it is expected to be in the low 70s Monday with little wind.

Mayfair was among 63 players who did not finish the round, which will be completed Sunday morning. J.L. Lewis, Scott McCarron and Ted Purdy were the leaders in the clubhouse at 3-under 69, and Brett Quigley and Ryuji Imada also were 3-under. Quigley completed 16 holes, and Imada played 11.

Phil Mickelson, preparing for his title defense next week in the Masters, was 2-over through 15 holes.

"The hardest part is when it's cold and you have delays, it's hard to stay warm," said Mayfair, who wore a stocking cap that covered his ears.

Mayfair had four birdies in his abbreviated round.

"I made four birdies and they all were between 10 and 20 feet," he said. "I made some nice putts."

Rain washed out the first two rounds at the TPC at Sugarloaf, postponing the opening round until Saturday. Play began at 7 a.m., with the temperature in the high 30s and wind gusting to 40 mph. Play was suspended for 99 minutes when a quick-moving storm brought rain and snow flurries at mid-morning.

"It's been windy and raining every week just about, but the temperature this morning was, I don't know what it was, 40 maybe, or something like that," Lewis said. "So it was cold with the wind, especially coming out of the north."

Rich Beem, who also had a 7:27 a.m. tee time, said it was 38 degrees when he went to the driving range before the round.

"Actually it felt like it was about 22 degrees," said Beem, who shot a 70. "Once we got out there, you just kind of accepted the fact that it's going to be blowing, it's going to be windy, it's going to be cold and it's going to be tough."

Bo Van Pelt, who matched Beem with a 70, said it brought back memories of his college days at Oklahoma State.

"We played some pretty tough weather then, a lot of rain, a lot of wind. You just kind of draw on that, remember some of those times, kind of laugh about it and go on with it," he said.

Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, the top three players in the world, skipped the BellSouth to focus on the Masters.

Retief Goosen, ranked fifth in the world and the winner here in 2002, shot a 72, and defending champion Zach Johnson had a 75.

Portugal Open

CASCAIS, Portugal -- Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie overcame bad weather to shoot a 5-under 66 and took a one-stroke lead in the rain-interrupted third round of the Portugal Open.

Rainstorms forced three stoppages as strong winds swept the oceanside Oitavos course near Lisbon. Lawrie was ahead of Barry Lane, who completed 15 holes before bad light stopped play. Lane was one of six players who didn't complete their round.

Lawrie, who hasn't won since the Wales Open in 2002 and made just 12 cuts in 23 events last year, had seven birdies and two bogeys to go into the clubhouse at 11-under. Alastair Forsyth and Stephen Dodd were at 6-under.

"It doesn't bother me at all, be it a nice day or a horrible day," Lawrie said. "You have to try to not let it affect you."

Overnight leaders Paul Broadhurst and Jose Filipe Lima were at 9-under after 15 holes.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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