HOUSTON OPEN: Darkness keeps Braden Bailey, Chris Stroud from finishing second round

Published 10:16 pm Friday, October 11, 2019

A two-hour rain and lightning delay, rapidly falling temperatures and gusting winds turned the Houston Open into a battle of survival for all but the early starters Friday at the Houston Open.

For late starters, like Chris Stroud and Braden Bailey, there was still golf left when a horn suspended play at 7 p.m. They will return at 8 a.m. Saturday to complete round two.

Bailey was two-over for the day but still three-under for the tournament when he marked his ball for a 30-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole. Stroud was two-under for the day, one-under for the tournament, one shot below the cut line and facing a dicey third shot on the par-4 18th when he picked up.

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Andrew Landry, the third former Port Neches-Groves player in the field, won’t be returning Saturday. Landry, on the sixth hole when play was suspended in the morning, came back to finish off an even-par 72. His 36-hole total of 146 was two shots over the projected even par cut line.

Peter Malnati, an early starter, shot 65 and had the lead at 10-under 134.

Bailey, who had played near flawlessly and was tied for seventh after an opening 67, had slipped into a tie for 20th when darkness enveloped the Golf Club of Houston.

Errant drives on No. 4 and No 6 rolled into penalty areas and led to bogeys. He settled down after that, however, with four consecutive pars following birdie looks from 11-9, 15-5, 12-11 and 11-0.

Bailey had started his day with a birdie on the first hole, hitting his second shot within 19 inches. A three-put bogey on No. 3 blunted his early momentum. Then the two bad drives, both into trouble on the right, led to anxious moments before he settled back in.

Stroud, meanwhile, trying to rebound from a 73, got off to a good start with short birdies at the first and sixth holes, took a step back with bogeys at eight and 11, then rallied to get below the cut line with birdies at 12 and 15.

He came to the rugged 18th hole needing a bogey to make the cut and opted to play it in near darkness. His drive sailed wide right into the rough and his second wound up some 95 feet from the pin in the rough right of the green. He will need to get down in three shots to be able to return later in the day.

Landry, who shot 74 on Thursday, saw his chances to play on the weekend get away with a double bogey on his eighth hole of the day (No. 17). He got a terrible break with an impossible lie in a greenside bunker, barely got out, chipped to nine feet and missed.

It was Landry’s fourth missed cut in five tournaments.