England’s Greg Owen is the clubhouse leader after shooting a course record seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club.
He is at 10-under 134 and finished, while 44 golfers did not finish as the second round was suspended due to darkness.
Stuart Appleby is 11-under with two holes remaining. Trevor Immelman is three strokes behind Appleby after shooting a 67. Mathias Gronberg and Jerry Smith completed their rounds and are at seven-under 135.
The suspension was due to an early morning thunderstorm that delayed the beginning of the second round for two and a half hours.
Appleby will restart with a 54-foot eagle putt on the 557-yard eighth hole.
“We definitely could not get to nine,” Appleby said. “There is no point in pushing it. We will just have to come back.”
Appleby, who was playing with KJ Choi and Ben Curtis, was a bit aggravated that his group was not able to play in under five hours.
“The group in front of us finished,” Appleby said. “They were just a lot quicker than us. They pushed and knew they could get across the line and get their cards signed.”
When Appleby and the 43 others stranded at sundown complete their second rounds, a cut line will be established and the third round will begin, with golfers going off two tees in threesomes.
“We always knew we were going to finish,” Owen said. “We have had a great time. We just ambled along, it seemed, but we played nice and quickly as we were out in front of the field.”
There was a little cause for concern when Owen and his playing partners got midway through the back nine.
“The last six holes were really slow,” Owen said. “It’s nice to finish and know that the job is done for the day and starting fresh.”
Owen certainly can sympathise with Appleby. “Nobody wants to do it, obviously,” Owen said. “It’s a lot easier to stay in bed and just start from the first tee. But it’s a case of you have just got to do it and you have got to be professional about it.”
Gronberg, who had an early tee time and was able to finish well before dark, also was thankful. He planned to watch a minor league hockey game with friends and relax before having to come out to the course.
He might have wanted to keep playing. He hit all 18 greens in the second round en route to a 69.
“I was talking with my playing partners about how rarely we do it,” Gronberg said.
“We are supposed to be professionals, but at least for me it’s like maybe a year in between or two years since I did 18 greens.”
Appleby began the day as the leader and did nothing to relinquish his title. He began on the back nine and shot a 33 to get to nine under, and then made birdies at the fourth and sixth holes to get to 11 under.
If Appleby plays his remaining two holes at one under par, he will shoot his second straight 66.
“If you are playing well and put the ball in position, a score is there to be had,” Appleby said. “You have to play pretty well to shoot a real low one, but six or seven under is a tremendous score.”
Owen’s score could have been lower if some of his putts on the front nine went in.
“I was just hitting good putts but just not quite hitting them,” Owen said. “They have got to be perfect, the greens are so pure.”
The putts began to fall on the back nine. Owen finished his last six holes with five birdies and a par.
“I felt like I hit a lot of good putts,” said Owen, who finished with 26. “The quality of putting is a lot better now. I don’t feel like I have hit a bad putt.”