MILWAUKEE (AP) – Scott Verplank thought the hard scrabble course at St. Andrews was hard on his feet. That was before he had to play 32 holes Friday at the US Bank Championship at Brown Deer Park.

After carding a 64-65 for an 11-under 129, Verplank headed straight to the locker room to kick off his golf shoes and slip on some sneakers.

Verplank, the leader in the clubhouse as evening rolled around, was among the more than 90 golfers who had to work overtime Friday after thunderstorms interrupted the first round at Brown Deer Park on Thursday.

With the start of the second round delayed four hours, first-round leader Ben Crane didn’t tee off until 4:27 p.m.

At least he didn’t have to play 36 holes like the 15 golfers who hadn’t even made it off the range when play was halted Thursday, resulting in the first non-completed round in Milwaukee in 18 years.

With the Milwaukee stop coming a week after the British Open, the last thing the jet-lagged field needed was another rain delay – 14 of 31 tour stops have been interrupted by bad weather this year.

“I think everybody gets a little beat up playing in the British Open because the ground’s so hard. It’s hard walking. You can’t take a divot because the ground is so hard. It’s hard on your whole body,” Verplank said. “So, yeah, playing 32 holes today, I’m glad it’s over with.”

Tommy Armour III is coming off a two-week vacation in Italy, where he played just nine holes. So, even though he played 32 rounds himself Friday, he wasn’t bothered at all.

“Luckily, this is an easy course to walk, so it wasn’t that bad,” Armour said after carding a bogey-free 66-65 for a minus-9.

Among those who had to play Brown Deer Park twice Friday was Kevin Hall, a deaf golfer who shot a 2-under 68 in his PGA Tour debut in the morning. He tuckered out, however, and missed the cut after carding a 4-over-74 on his second trip around the course.

“I really lost my energy on the back nine and it really affected my shots, especially the putting,” Hall said through a sign-language interpreter.

When he was invited to Milwaukee on a sponsor’s exemption, the PGA Tour searched unsuccessfully for records of any other professional golfers who were deaf.

A bout with meningitis stole Hall’s hearing when he was a youngster, so it wasn’t necessary for the marshals to raise the “QUIET” signs when he teed off. But they did anyway.

“The first hole I was very, very nervous for him but excited at the same time, just to see that he’s playing golf at this level,” said Hall’s father, Percy. “And emotional because I can look back to when he was ill and how weak he was and now I can see him playing at the highest level there is in golf. And it’s just amazing.”

He said his son, who has played three times on the Nationwide Tour, including two as a pro after winning the Big Ten championship in 2004, had butterflies when the day began but quickly gained his composure.

“He was nervous only on the first hole,” Percy Hall said. “He blocked his drive and was in the rough, that was just nervousness. And he bogeyed the first hole because he got it (the drive) in the rough. The second hole was better and then the third hole (a par 3) he birdied. And I knew he was fine.”

Hall’s gallery grew as the day went on, with fans giving him high-fives and thumbs-up between holes.

“I felt a tremendous amount of support all day,” Hall said.

“I don’t know how to put it into words, but it was a wonderful tournament.”

Divots: Past champion Jim Gallagher, Jr. has now played in 22 straight US Bank Championships dating back to 1984, tied for most all-time with Loren Roberts and Ronnie Black. Roberts’ streak was broken this year when he turned 50 and made his Champions Tour debut at the Senior British Open this week.

AP-ES-07-22-05 1912EDT


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