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updated: 6/21/2014 10:50 PM

Lehman rushes to top before storm at Encompass

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  • Tom Lehman watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Encompass Championship golf tournament Saturday in Glenview.

    Tom Lehman watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the Encompass Championship golf tournament Saturday in Glenview.
    Associated Press


As tournament leader Tom Lehman walked to the 18th tee late Saturday afternoon with some darker than dark clouds closing in from the west, he couldn't help but think back to a year ago at this very same Encompass Championship.

"It was at the end of the first round and we had a big storm and they suspended play," Lehman recalled. "Then we had to come out the next morning and finish up. I'm not sure what time it was ... but I know it was a bummer.

"Anyway, my caddie (Andy Martinez) was reminding me, 'Don't do it again to me again this year.'

"I go, 'What?'

"He said last year you got stuck with one putt left."

So, after being warned by officials that they had about 10 minutes to play out the final hole of the day, Lehman and his playing partners picked up the pace big time and finished just a minute or so before the sirens sounded and play was suspended at 4:56 p.m. with 31 players still on the course.

Tournament officials called it a day at 6:10 p.m. after over 1 ½ inches of rain had fallen on North Shore Country Club in Glenview.

Second round play will begin this morning at 7:15 a.m. and final round action is scheduled to commence sometime around 9:15 a.m.

And all will be chasing Lehman, who followed a bogey-free 65 in Friday's opening round with a bogey-free 66 Saturday for a three-shot lead over a group of four players -- Kirk Triplett, John Inman, Roger Chapman and Bart Bryant -- none of whom finished their second rounds.

The weather also forced the two-man pro-amateur competition to end early for the amateurs, with some unable to complete their second round. Only the pros will play Sunday, and their scores will figure in to the pro-am scores.

The team of pro Jeff Hart and amateur Jody Rotondo lead the event by 4 strokes.

Topping the celebrities in the field was retired Bear Gary Fencik, who is in a tie for second with pro partner John Inman. Toni Kukoc, with pro Michael Allen, is tied for 14th and Brian Urlacher, paired with Jeff Sluman, is tied for 17th.

Before the deluge hit, the shot of the day was turned in by Fred Funk, who holed out a 6-iron on the 18th -- a 412-yard Par-4 -- from 175 yards for an eagle. Funk, who still has one hole to play in his second round, is at 6 under.

But it is Lehman at 13 under, who will be the focus Sunday.

The former British Open champ, who has a chance to pick up his first Tour victory since 2012, knows he'll have to keep firing low on what is sure to be a rain-softened track Sunday.

"I think you're watching good scores and obviously the rain is going to soften the course even more," Lehman said. "And I'm not sure what the wind forecast is, but the lack of wind has led to the birdie barrage out there."

The forecast for Sunday: raining birdies.

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