ACE GROUP CLASSIC: Rain, rain affects play; forecast for scattered showers Friday

Corey Perrine/Staff
A golfer remains covered under a tarp while a cart passes by after a practice round of the ACE Group Classic Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 at TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla. Lightning followed by torrential rain would cancel the event around 3:00 p.m.

Photo by COREY PERRINE // Buy this photo

Corey Perrine/Staff A golfer remains covered under a tarp while a cart passes by after a practice round of the ACE Group Classic Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 at TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla. Lightning followed by torrential rain would cancel the event around 3:00 p.m.

Clouds hovered over TwinEagles Club on Thursday as the afternoon wave of the ACE Group Classic pro-am teed off at 1 p.m. Two-and-a-half hours later, the weather horn blew, ending play at 3:22 p.m. with most teams getting in nine holes.

More rain is in the forecast for Friday's first round, which is scheduled to begin off Nos. 1 and 10 tees at 10 a.m.

Brian Claar, the Champions Tour's Tournament Director of Competition and Rules, is hoping for the best. A quarter of an inch of rain fell Thursday morning, and another inch or two was expected to fall the rest of the day and night.

"We'll see what we get (Thursday) night)," Claar said. "The bunkers are going to wash a little bit, so however long it takes to push the edges of the bunkers up. We're going to even see if we can mow the fairways. They might be too wet, and the mowers will just make them worse. We're going to double-cut and roll the greens. That'll take some time."

Fortunately, the first tee time is at 10 a.m., so there's some extra time for the golf course maintenance crew to get its work done. Sunset is 6:18 p.m., an hour and 18 minutes after the original estimated end of play.

Claar said tour meteorologist Willis Young is forecasting a 30 percent chance of lightning between noon and 4 p.m. Friday.

"That would pretty much kill us, because by the time we get them off (the course) and get them back on, that's an hour and a half right there," Claar said. "That'd be the worst case scenario, where we'd have to finish (Friday's) round Saturday morning, and then restart. That's in the back of our minds, but hopefully it won't come to that."

There is a 70 percent chance of rain, with the rain threat ending tonight. High temperatures are forecast for 70 on Saturday and 63 on Sunday, and 15 to 20 mph winds from the north-northwest Saturday, and 15 to 25 mph northeast Sunday.

Champions Tour pro Brad Faxon, who has won the Franklin Templeton Shootout at Tiburon, is making his second appearance in the ACE Group Classic, so he doesn't have much experience at TwinEagles' Talon Course.

"I'm used to the course playing one way, not a bunch of ways, so that's tough," Faxon said. "I'll take a look at my yardage book, and think about clubs I hit off tees with wind blowing a different direction, and go through that in my mind."

Faxon said the biggest gaffe that sometimes happens is golfers figuring a certain thing when they arrive at the course instead of being prepared.

"I think the worst mistake is you can go there expecting it to pour or expecting them to wait until the weather gets better, and all of a sudden, you go out there and it's raining and you're playing, and I wasn't ready for this."

Tournament director Lesley Baker said they are monitoring the rain and how it affects the volunteer and public parking lots, but didn't plan to make any changes as of Thursday evening.

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