HUMBLE, Texas — Former Masters Tournament champion Angel Cabrera and Carl Pettersson took advantage of early tee times to beat the rain and share the early lead in the Houston Open.
Cabrera and Pettersson shot 7-under-par 65 in calm conditions Thursday morning to set the pace before the first round was suspended by a thunderstorm.
Only 51 players completed play before the horn sounded at 1:27 p.m. Tournament director Steve Timms said the storm dumped about 1 1/4 inches of rain, leaving shallow ponds on many of the fairways.
“You just can’t play under the rules of golf with that much casual water,” Timms said.
Grounds crews fanned out across the course late in the afternoon, and Timms was optimistic that Redstone would be playable when the first round was scheduled to resume at 7:30 this morning.
“Let it drain overnight, and I think it will be just fine,” Timms said.
Ricky Barnes and Jeff Maggert completed their rounds in the morning and were one shot off the lead. Former Georgia star Brian Harman also was 6-under, but had three holes left.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Ernie Els, who needs a victory to qualify for the Masters Tournament next week, were playing their front nines when play was suspended. Couples and Mickelson are 1-under through three holes and Els is 1-under through two.
The Houston Open became the run-up event to the Masters in 2007. Timms is hoping to finish the tournament by 5 p.m. Sunday to accommodate not only television, but also the players heading to Augusta.
“We do everything we can operationally to hit that window,” Timms said.
The morning groups enjoyed sunshine and calm conditions.
Pettersson birdied four of the first six holes, then reached the par-5 eighth in two and two-putted to reach 5 under. He added birdies on Nos. 11 and 15, then found the greenside bunker on No. 17 en route to a bogey.
Pettersson missed the cut the past two weeks at Innisbrook and Bay Hill and blamed poor iron play. He needs a win here to make the Masters.