Rain and lightning forced PGA Tour officials to suspend the first round of the $400,000 USF&G tournament at New Orleans Thursday and halted a bid by John Mahaffey to overtake the leaders.
Mahaffey had teed off on the 18th hole and was eight under par on the par-72 course when inclement weather forced suspension of the first round. He was one stroke in front of Gibby Gilbert and Peter Jacobsen, who finished the first round in the lead with 65s.
Mahaffey, who had four birdies and two eagles on his first 17 holes, said he was on a hot streak but expects to be able to rekindle that pace today.
Gilbert, who is looking for his first PGA Tour win in eight years, and Jacobsen both shot six birdies, an eagle and a bogey to share the lead.
Gilbert, 44, has not won a PGA event since the 1977 Walt Disney World National Team Championship.
PGA officials said about 36 of the 144 golfers in the field will finish the rain-delayed first round today. They said the extra holes should not cause a great delay in playing the second round on the 7,080-yard Lakewood Country Club course.
Jane Crafter, still looking for her first victory after five years on the LPGA Tour, and 13-time winner Pat Bradley overcame the gusting, swirling winds of the Royal Kaanapali North Course for five-under-par 68s to share the first-round lead in the $300,000 Women's Kemper Open in Hawaii.
With the wind howling up to 40 miles an hour throughout the round, Crafter also had to struggle against intermittent rain squalls that swept off the West Maui mountains during the morning.
She started on the back nine and made the turn in 37 and then finished up with four birdies--on the first, second, fifth and eighth holes.
Bradley, who has banked more than $200,000 the past two years and gone over the $100,000 the last seven years, was a late starter, also on the back nine, and showed no bogeys on her card.
Patty Sheehan, this year's leading money winner, finished the round a stroke behind the co-leaders.
At Indian Wells, Calif., Jerry Barber and Jim Ferree each shot four-under-par rounds on the opening day of the $300,000 Vintage Invitational senior men's tournament.
Barber, 68, had a 67 on the par-71 Desert Course. Ferree, 53, shot a 68 on the par-72 Mountain Course in the tournament for golfers 50-and-older at The Vintage Club.