AUGUSTA, Ga. — That venerable saying, "The Masters doesn't begin until the back nine on Sunday," might have to be amended to the back nine on Monday.
Rain and the threat of lightning washed out most of the second round of the 69th Masters on Friday at National Augusta Golf Club, leaving the leaderboard at a soggy standstill and green-jacketed officials in a blue mood.
Officials hope to finish the second and third rounds today and complete Sunday's final round on schedule, but there is a chance the Masters could see its first Monday finish since 1983 and only second since 1973.
Unlike some other tournaments, including this year's Nissan Open at Riviera, the Masters does not accept weather-related, hole-shortened events.
The champion of this year's tournament, officials assured, will complete 72 holes -- if it takes a week.
Asked if he could convey his weather-related frustration, Will Nicholson, the Masters' competition chairman, said, "I'd like to convey it, but there are ladies in the room."
Instead of bogeys and pars, the conversation after two days has been dominated by weather reports and course clearings.
Thursday's opening round was delayed nearly 5 1/2 hours and then halted with only 24 players having completed their rounds.
The disjointed first round was completed Friday morning, with Chris DiMarco finishing up what turned out to be a five-under-par 67.
That was good enough for a one-shot lead over Vijay Singh and Luke Donald, both of whom shot four-under 68. Mark Hensby's 69, which made him the leader in the clubhouse when play was stopped Thursday, ended up tied for fourth with Stuart Appleby.
Phil Mickelson on Friday completed his first round at two-under 70, Retief Goosen at 71, Tiger Woods at 74 and Ernie Els at 75.
Only a handful of players made a dent in second-round action before play was suspended at 12:40 local time and then called off for the day at 4 p.m.
David Howell, a 29-year-old Brit playing in his first Masters, made five birdies on his first eight holes and was tied for the lead at five under when he was called off the course.
Donald played two holes, making birdie on the par-five second, and was tied at five under with Howell and DiMarco.
Kirk Triplett moved up after a first-round 75. He was five under through eight holes, including an eagle on the par-five 13th hole when he holed out from 94 yards, and was two under overall.
Howell, who shot even-par 72 in the first round, took the suspension in stride.
"You don't know what's around the corner in golf," he said. "It might turn out to be a great thing for me that we stopped, who knows?"