Afternoon thunderstorms always seem to be a problem at The International.
With the PGA Championship just a week away, it's an even bigger deal this year.
Rain and lightning swept through Castle Pines Golf Club yesterday afternoon, halting the first round with half the field still on the course in Castle Pines, Colo.
Rod Pampling led the 72 players who completed their round, hitting every fairway and scoring 15 points in the tournament's modified Stableford system with five birdies and an eagle.
Goeff Ogilvy and Jose Coceres were a point behind in the format that awards players eight points for a double eagle, five for an eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-1 for bogey and minus-3 for double bogey or worse.
The rest of the field will return early today to finish the first round. The second round is scheduled to follow.
But with more storms forecast for this afternoon, it could be a scramble to finish by Sunday. Spilling over into Monday for the first time in tournament history could present a problem because many of the players might want to hustle to Wisconsin to prepare for next weekend's PGA at Whistling Straits.
"There's nothing you can do about it, obviously," said Chris DiMarco, who had six points through eight holes before the storms hit.
Pampling opened the year by making the cut in 12 of his first 13 events but has fallen off over the last two months. After finishing tied for 44th at The Colonial in May, he has missed the cut in three of the past four tournaments.
Pampling started to show signs that his swing was coming around at last month's British Open, tying for 27th, and kept it going in the first round at hilly Castle Pines. He had four birdies on the front nine, another on the 15th and made a 20-foot putt for eagle on No. 17.
"This time of the year, I don't know what the reason is, I just don't seem to play as well," Pampling said. "At the moment, my swing feels really nice."
* LPGA: Karen Stupples is playing with the confidence of a champion.
Teeing off just hours after a 13-hour flight from London and without seeing the course, Stupples had seven birdies in a 6-under-par 65 for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Jamie Farr Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.
Still caught up in the excitement of winning the Women's British Open on Sunday, Stupples said she "floated around the course" after arriving in the Toledo area Wednesday evening and spending the night with friends. She caught some sleep on the flight and got a good night's rest and then picked up where she left off on the Old Course at Sunningdale after a five-stroke victory.
"The way I played last week gave me a lot of confidence in how I managed myself around the golf course," Stupples said.
One day into the 72-hole tournament, however, Stupples was well aware of her closest pursuers.
U.S. Open winner Meg Mallon, an Ohio State alum and a gallery favorite, had a run of three straight birdies and then birdied three of four in another stretch in a round of 66 that left her tied with defending champion Se Ri Pak.
* HP OPEN: Amateur Louise Stahle stole the spotlight from Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, shooting a bogey-free 5-under 67 for the first-round lead at the HP Open in Stockholm.
Sorenstam was tied for third after shooting a 70 on the long Ullna course.
Emelie Svenningsson, another Swede, was alone in second with a 68 after opening her round with three straight birdies. She is making her first women's European tour start thanks to a wild card as the top money winner on the Swedish Telia Tour.
* VIRGINIA WOMEN'S AMATEUR: Natalie Easterly of Richmond and Jameshia Levister of Fredericksburg advanced to the final in Portsmouth.
Easterly, 50, beat Cindy Morris, 2 up, in her semifinal matchup, while 22-year-old Levister topped Misha Harvey, 2 up, in her match. Both players won quarterfinal matches earlier in the day at The Homestead's Cascades Course.