Watson defies soggy conditions

Bubba Watson shot a 10-under-par 62 to take the lead as the second round finally got played at the rain-hit Bob Hope Classic.

Bubba Watson shot a 10-under-par 62 to take the lead as the second round finally got played at the rain-hit Bob Hope Classic in California.
PGA Tour officials are planning for a Monday finish at the event after play was washed out on Thursday and delayed for two hours on Friday after record rainfall in Palm Springs saturated the four desert courses in use for the five-round pro-am event.
With the amateurs and celebrities in the field given the day off, the PGA Tour professionals were sent out in twosomes off split tees at each of the four courses with organisers now expecting to complete the fifth and final round on Monday.
The soggy conditions did nothing to hamper Watson, however, as he followed up an opening six-under-par 66 at La Quinta on Wednesday with a 62 at the SilverRock course.
Watson rattled in five birdies and an eagle at the par-four fifth hole for a seven-under-par front nine and despite a bogey at the par-three 14th, three more birdies moved him to 16 under for the tournament, two strokes clear of fellow American Alex Prugh, who carded a 66 on the Palmer course at PGA West.
With La Quinta and SilverRock considered the more difficult courses in the tournament rotation, Watson said he was more than happy with his place at the top of the leaderboard.
“It’s a tough draw,” Watson said. “At La Quinta when the wind blows in it’s hard to shoot a low score but I played great there, no bogeys and then came to a long course that was wet and played my irons really well and putted really well.
“It was a great day, I wasn’t looking for a 62, just something under par. I’ll take a 62 though.”
Playing Palmer, first-round leader Shane Bertsch was level for his round after 14 holes following an opening 10-under 62 but three birdies in his closing four holes gave him a solid 69 to put him into a tie for third at 13 under.
PGA Tour rookie Martin Flores joined Bertsch there with a 65 at PGA West’s Nicklaus course, followed by Joe Ogilvie (66) and Chad Collins (64).
South Africa’s Tim Clark was the leading non-American after a 63 put him at 11 under in a tie for eighth while former major winners Steve Elkington of Australia and Mike Weir of Canada were both at 10 under after both playing Nicklaus. Weir, the 2003 Masters winner, shot a 67 while 1995 US PGA champion Elkington carded a 65.
Justin Rose of England enjoyed the La Quinta Country Club layout, finishing with a five-under 67 to get to seven under par for the week.
Fellow Englishman Greg Owen bounced back from opening 74 to card a seven-under 65 at Nicklaus and get to five under par for the tournament while at La Quinta, Brian Davis was at one under following a 70.
A level-par 72 at Palmer left Scotland’s Martin Laird one under with 54 holes still to play.