Jack Nicklaus, who hasn't won a tournament in 1 1/2 years, shot a four-under-par 67 today that put him alone in the lead, one shot ahead of Ray Floyd, after three rounds of the storm-disrupted Bay Hill Golf Classic.
Nicklaus posted his 203 total for 54 holes after a thunderstorm delayed the start of the third round almost four hours and extended the tournament to Monday.
Earlier storms had dumped more than three inches of rain on Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill course and caused delays that set up a double round of 36 holes today. But driving rain, lightning and high winds raked the course this morning and made it impossible to complete two rounds.
Nicklaus, who hasn't won since acquiring his record 17th major professional title in the 1980 PGA Championship, had a three-shot lead late in the day. But Floyd finished birdie-birdie to cut that margin to a single stroke.
Floyd, winner of three U.S. titles and the Canadian PGA last year, matched the best round of the tournament with a 66 and was at 204.
"Well, we all know who Jack is, and you just can't afford to let him get too big a lead," Floyd said. "I would have been pleased (with his round) even if the wind had not blown and under these conditions. I never had the ball close on my backside, but I made my opportunties. I took advantage of what I had to."
Nicklaus, who shot 67 Friday, had Saturday off while half of the 150-man field completed the thunderstorm delayed second round.
"I needed to make some changes in my swing and I did that yesterday," Nicklaus said. "I made some adjustments and it paid off.
"I had planned to go fishing tomorrow with Gary Player and my son Jack, but I will have to forego that for a month."
South African Denis Watson was third at 206 after a 69 in weather that ranged from rain to wind to sweater-donning cold.
Former Bay Hill winner Dave Eichelberger, who holed out an eight-iron shot to salvage par after hitting his first drive of the day out of bounds, and PGA titleholder Larry Nelson were at 207. Eichelberger shot 67, Nelson 69.
Jerry Pate, twice a runner-up this season, Lanny Wadkins and Woody Blackburn were at 208. Blackburn had a third-round 68, Wadkins and Pate 70s.
Craig Stadler and Scott Hoch, who had shared the 36-hole lead with Nicklaus, each shot 73 and drifted back to 209 and a tie with Tom Kite, the 1981 leading money-winner who moved up with a 70.