Rain, thunder and lightning pounds Zurich Classic

SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

Woody Austin, Nicholas Thompson, Peter Lonard and Briny Baird topped the Zurich Classic leaderboard at 8-under when rain, lightning and thunder forced the suspension of third-round play.

Play at the Avondale, La., course was stopped at 1:48 p.m., then called off for the day at 5:35 p.m. The 46 players unable to finish will try to complete the round this morning.

Austin had seven holes to play, Thompson eight, Lonard 14 and Baird 15.

John Senden was the leader in the clubhouse at 7-under after a 66.

"I think the golf course has gotten progressively easier as the week has gone on because when we practised on Tuesday it was really dry and bouncy," Senden said.

Andres Romero, Tim Petrovic, Steve Elkington and John Merrick also were 7-under.

Jon Mills of Oshawa was 2-under through 11 holes Saturday and 5-under overall.

Austin was bothered by the delay.

"I didn't get off to a great start, but made a couple of birdies to offset a kind of shaky start," Austin said.

"Unfortunately for me, I had momentum on my side. I just birdied nine, 10, and 11 and now I've been stuck for the last four hours."

Eighty-one players made the cut at even-par 144 on Friday. Under the tour's revised cut policy, the field would have been cut to the low 70 players and ties after the third round. But because of the rain delay, everyone will be able to play today.

LANGER KEEPS IT CLEAN

At Palm Coast, Fla, Bernhard Langer birdied his first two holes at the Ocean Hammock Golf Club, then avoided the mistakes that plagued his closest rivals in the Champions Tour's Ginn Championship. The two-time Masters champion was one of only two players without a bogey yesterday on the windy Oceanside course. He shot a 6-under 66 to reach 11-under 133 and move two strokes ahead of career club pro Lonnie Nielsen (69).


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