Judging by the faces of the players in the clubhouse at the Upper Canada Golf Course, the weather was the big winner on the first day of The Great Waterway Classic.
The field at the PGA TOUR Canada event got in just over three hours of play before the first weather delay of the day came at 10:42 a.m. Three hours and thirty three minutes of rain later play resumed, allowing for at least some scoring to take place.
Before another bout of rain and a sprinkling of lightning would end the day at 5:07 p.m. American Will Strickler and Canadian Steven Lecuyer would post six under par scores of 66 for the clubhouse lead. American JJ Spaun was also at six under par but he still had three holes left to play in his round.
“You could fire at flags with long irons, mid-irons. You know it’s going to stick in the rain,” said Lecuyer, who bounced back from an early double bogey with eight birdies. “This early in the tournament, if you get a double bogey you have to erase it from your mind. I hung in there, so this was a great round for me.”
Strickler, meanwhile, said a hot putter led to his round of seven birdies and one bogey.
“I have to give all the credit to my putting. This whole year I’ve been kind of struggling with my putting, and my ball-striking has been good and the putting’s never really gotten hot,” said the 27-year old, who added that he’s hungry to get a win with only four events remaining on the schedule.
“If you want to finish in the top five you’re going to have to win a tournament and still play well after that,” said Strickler, referring to the top five players on the Order of Merit, who will earn Web.com Tour cards for 2014. “The first step is to win and that’s been my goal all summer, so I’m sticking to it.”
The PGA TOUR Canada has had it’s share of battles with weather this season. Half of the events have seen at least one weather delay. The original playing of the ATB Financial Classic in Calgary had to be rescheduled due to the Alberta Floods. Thankfully the “re-do” of the tournament was free of weather incidents.
As one veteran player noted in the clubhouse, “The slogan for this tour should be these guys are patient,” – his play on the PGA TOUR “These Guys Are Good”.
Play at The Great Waterway Classic resumes on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. with the completion of round one. Round two tee times will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the first wave and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 pm for the second wave. The delays will mean that the 36-hole cut may not be made until Saturday morning.