San Jacinto, CA – Cameron Percy shot an eight-under 63 on Thursday as dangerous conditions forced a suspension during the first round of the Soboba Golf Classic.
Percy led by two when play was halted for the day due to darkness at the Country Club at Soboba Springs. He has never won as a professional, although he nearly won on the PGA Tour in 2010; Percy was part of a three-man playoff at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with Martin Laird and Jonathan Byrd, who aced the fourth playoff hole to walk away a winner.
The round was stopped originally at 4:55 p.m. (et) due to lightning in the area, though it was the wind gusts of nearly 50 miles per hour that caused the most havoc. Play resumed at 7 p.m., but it didn't give 59 players enough time to finish. The round will restart on Friday at 10 a.m.
Percy was able to finish his round with two eagles, five birdies and a bogey, needing only 24 putts in an excellent round.
"(The greens) are fast, but they're nice. You don't have to worry about hitting it, you just roll it on the line," Percy said. "I could play on greens like this every day for the rest of my life. The faster, the better."
He has a two-stroke lead at the moment over Bradley Iles, Peter Lonard and Doug LaBelle II, all of whom finished with matching six-under 65s. The leading man still on the golf course is Troy Merritt, who is five-under through 16.
Five players finished their round at minus-five.
Both two-time winners on the Nationwide Tour this year have a ways to go, as Mathew Goggin and J.J. Killeen finished at two-under 69 and one-under 70, respectively. They can earn an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour with a third win this week.
Percy had a decent front nine with a birdie on the third and an eight-foot eagle putt on the sixth, but his bogey at the seventh left him at two-under making the turn.
He played the back nine in terrific fashion.
Percy began the final nine holes with back-to-back birdies from the 10th, then did it again from the 14th. He gained a two-stroke advantage with a final six- foot eagle putt at the 18th, his second of the day.
NOTES: The second round will be delayed 30 minutes due to the weather conditions on Thursday...Troy Kelly withdrew with an injury, as did Matt Davidson and Scott Dunlap...Russell Henley, the winner of the Stadion Classic earlier this year as an amateur, shot a three-under 68 in his first professional event...Harris English also made his professional debut after winning the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational as an amateur two months ago and finished one-over 72.