Weir fouled by weather

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

It was the kind of day only an Englishman could love.

After a morning of sunshine and light breezes, the opening round of the Nissan Open here in Los Angeles degenerated into a blustery series of rain squalls that turned Riviera Country Club into a swimming pool.

And when it was over, who else but PGA Tour rookie Brian Davis, a mudder from Jolly Olde, had snared the lead.

Davis, who won this past year's tour qualifying tournament, carved out a round of six-under-par 65 in his first full round at Riviera.

That puts him a shot ahead of fellow Brit Luke Donald, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and American Brett Quigley.

Canada's Mike Weir bogeyed his last hole of the day to finish at four-under 67 and fall into a large group along with Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.

Weir's round was one of the best of the day, however, given that he played under the worst of conditions during the afternoon.

"In conditions like that, I was just trying to get the ball in the hole and hang around the lead," Weir said. "I putted well, drove it well but as the round went on and it began to rain harder, the ball just didn't travel."

Stephen Ames, the other Canadian in the field, managed a round of one-over 72, also playing in the worst of the weather.

Rain started falling just after 1 p.m. Most of the morning players already had completed their rounds, while many of the afternoon players had not yet teed off, creating a decided advantage for the early risers.

"I will be sitting in the clubhouse, looking out the window just trying to wipe the steam off the windows," said Darren Clarke, clearly thankful to have finished off his round before the weather changed from shirt-sleaves to bone-chilling wind and rain.

Clarke's round included a hole-in-one at the signature sixth hole, where the green has a huge pot bunker in the middle.

"A little bit of skill, a little bit of luck," said Clarke who, says he's uncertain how many aces he has made.

"Don't know, 25 maybe, I've lost count,' he said.

Davis had never set foot on the Riviera property until Wednesday and hadn't played a full round there.

Weir showed he meant business right out of the chute. He sank a six-foot birdie putt at his first hole, the 10th, then followed that with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 11th. He sank another bird at the 14th, gave one back with a bogey at the par-3 16th, and then reclaimed it with a bird at the par-5 17th.

He turned at three-under par, then left an eagle chip on the lip at the par-5 first, settling for birdie. He went to five-under with a 12-foot birdie putt at the sixth.

That's where he remained until, in pouring rain, he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the last hole, recording a bogey.


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