Casey beats darkness for lead in clubhouse

HUMBLE, Texas --- Paul Casey shot 2-under-par 70 on Friday to take the clubhouse lead in the Shell Houston Open, which was suspended by darkness.


Casey is at 8-under through two rounds. Also at 8-under, but still on the course, are Geoff Ogilvy and John Senden.

Casey was one of only five players to complete two rounds Friday after high wind suspended play Thursday afternoon. The horns sounded at 7:43 p.m. Friday with 65 players on the course and 72 others scheduled to start their second rounds this morning.

"I didn't think we'd get done," Casey said, "but we did. That was great."

Ogilvy, the Australian star who won the season-opening Mercedes-Benz and the Accenture Match Play, played 14 holes in the second round, while Sen-den played 10.

Ogilvy opened with 67, then birdied seven of the first nine holes of his second round. He had a double bogey on the par-4 second and a bogey on the fourth.

Evans resident Vaughn Taylor opened with 67 and is even-par through 17 holes of his second round, putting him three shots off the lead.

Former Louisville, Ga., resident Brian Gay (69), Augusta native Charles Howell (71) and Georgian Davis Love III (73) were not able to start their second rounds.

Taylor, Gay, Howell and Love need a win to get into next week's Masters Tournament.

Ogilvy and Casey were two of the 72 players who had their first-round tee times pushed back to Friday.

Casey shot 66 in his first round, then raced the sun to finish the second-round 70. After two-putting for par on No. 17, he ran to the 18th tee and smacked a 318-yard drive into the fairway just before the round was officially suspended, allowing him to finish the hole Friday.

"I figured it was worth it," Casey said. "There's something to be said about saving energy. It's turning into a long week. If I had to get up early (Saturday), that could have been very detrimental. I took a chance, ran for the tee."

Bo Van Pelt (67) was 7-under along with Jonathan Byrd, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Armour III and former SMU player Colt Knost. Bryd, a former Clemson star, played 16 holes in the second round, Stenson 13, Armour 11 and Knost eight.

Playing the back nine first, Ogilvy began his surge with a 13-foot birdie putt on the par-4 11th and then birdied the next three holes. He drove into the trees and bogeyed the par-5 15th, then holed a bunker shot on the par-3 16th before birdies on 17 and 18 for 30.

Ogilvy and Casey are two of the 15 top-20 players here this week to tune up for the Masters next week. The Tournament Course at Redstone was set up to simulate Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, with fast greens and light rough.But soft greens and ideal conditions Friday yielded 67 scores under par in the first round.

Fred Couples and Justin Leonard posted early 68s. James Nitties took the lead briefly with 66, the best score among the 72 players forced to halt their rounds on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the players who started their first rounds Friday hardly got a break before starting their second 18s.

"It's a bit like college golf -- here's your lunch and keep on going," said Casey, who is a former Arizona State star.



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