Originally created 07/20/02

Gow is comfortable again on B.C. Open course



ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Paul Gow, at home again on a course far from his native Australia, shot a 6-under 66 Friday to sit atop a B.C. Open leaderboard clogged with relative unknowns.

Gow had a two-round total of 11-under 139 on the En-Joie Golf Club course, where lightning and rain around midday Friday forced a weather delay of nearly 4 hours, 15 minutes.

When play resumed, Shaun Micheel went out in a blazing 5-under 32 for the front nine and was 11-under through 15 holes when darkness stopped play for the day.

Nearly half the field was still on the course Friday and they were to return Saturday morning to complete the second round and, following the cut, play the third round. Saturday's forecast was for cooler temperatures and sunny skies.

Gow was a shot ahead of Paul Claxton, who shot a 69 Friday, and two ahead of Joe Ogilvie (70) and Bo Van Pelt (65). Ogilvie had finished his round Friday before the storms arrived and Van Pelt and Claxton had to return after the delay to finish their last holes.

David Peoples was at 8-under 136, as were five golfers who did not complete their rounds Friday.

Gow is struggling this year after a promising 2001 in which he made more than $600,000 and finished 83rd on the money list. That included a big payday for losing in a playoff at the B.C. Open to Jeff Sluman after they finished tied at 22-under.

This season has been another story for Gow: 14 of 20 cuts missed and only $140,550 in winnings, 162nd on the money list.

"I wasn't expecting to be at 11-under because I really wasn't putting all that nicely in the last 6-to-8 months," Gow said.

He started off hot Friday by going birdie, par, eagle and birdie on his first four holes, and he didn't let a double-bogey 7 at No. 5 after a drive into the trees spoil the round. He had four birdies and nine pars the rest of the way.

"Obviously, the golf course sets up to how I play the game - how, I have no idea," Gow said. "I'm comfortable being on the tees. I'm comfortable with the shots. I seem to pull a lot of right clubs. It's kind of eerie that this is sort of happening again."

Claxton kept his spot on the leaderboard by grinding out a par 4 on 18 despite pulling his tee shot into the water. After a drop, Claxton hit a 9-iron from 140 yards within 2 feet and made the putt.

Claxton said he waited out the long delay as comfortably as he could.

"I just sat around and tried to take it easy and I ate some lunch," he said. "The delays are part of it. We're used to it. It happens a lot. We just try to stay off our feet and try to relax."

Micheel didn't start his round until after the weather delay, but showed no signs of being thrown off by the long wait. He made consecutive birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 to catch Gow on the leaderboard at 11-under and he edged ahead at 12-under with another birdie at No. 9.

But Micheel, one of five leaders who were tied after an opening-round 67, bogeyed 11.

The projected cut line of 3-under 141 was likely to claim Chris Perry, Pat Perez and Mark Brooks, among others.

Craig Stadler shot a 65 Friday and was at 6-under 138. His son Kevin, an amateur who plays for the University of Southern California, was 1-over for the tournament through the nine holes he competed Friday and was in danger of missing the cut.