Weather mars Encompass Championship for second straight year

Tom Lehman studies the 18th green during the second round of the Encompass Championship golf tournament in Glenview on Saturday. Lehman wrapped up his round shortly before play was suspended because of thunderstorms. | Nam Y. Huh/AP

GLENVIEW — Tom Lehman played the final hole of his second round at the Encompass Championship with a shot clock.

Racing quick-moving storms that would eventually wash out the day’s action at North Shore Country Club, Lehman made a routine par to secure his three-shot lead entering Sunday. Second-round play at the Champions Tour event will resume at 7:15 a.m., with the final round scheduled to begin around 9:15 a.m.

“We got to the 18th tee and they said, ‘You’ve got about 10 minutes,’ ” Lehman said. “So we tried to play a little bit quicker on that last hole to beat the weather.”

Thirty-one players were still on the course when storms arrived Saturday. The Encompass Championship is now 0-for-2 when it comes to weather, as rain halted play during the first round of last year’s inaugural tournament.

Lehman was on the course last year when play was suspended.

“We were discussing that I got stuck last year with one shot left. Had to come out the next morning and finish that one shot,” he said. “Anyway, my caddie was reminding me, ‘Don’t do it to me again this year.’ ”

Lehman is 13-under par after 36 holes, three shots clear of Roger Chapman, Kirk Triplett and John Inman. Bart Bryant is also 10-under par, but he has two holes left to play.

Final round pairings won’t be determined until the second round is completed Sunday.

Local flavor

It doesn’t look like the Encompass Championship will have a local winner this year.

Hinsdale resident Jeff Sluman is the area’s best hope, but a bogey on the par-3 seventh Saturday — his 16th hole of the day — dropped him to 7 under, six shots behind Lehman. Sluman was on the eighth hole when the horns sounded to suspend play for the day.

Sluman started the day at 5 under.

Lake Forest’s Chip Beck was within range after shooting a 2-under-par 70 in Friday’s first round, but a major move never materialized Saturday. Starting on the back nine, he was even after 10 holes before making back-to-back bogeys. He recovered with a birdie on the fifth and an eagle on the par-5 sixth, but closed his day with bogeys at 7 and 9. He’ll be 12 shots back when Sunday’s final round begins.

Gary Hallberg, who grew up in Barrington, posted a solid 2-under-par 70 Saturday. He is 1 under for the tournament.

Guess who’s back

The golf world is talking about Tiger Woods’ impending return, but has that trend reached the Champions Tour?

“He’s playing out here?” Lehman joked. “Then the answer is no, there’s no chatter.”

Woods — who has been sitting out after having back surgery in March — announced Friday that he will play at next week’s Quicken Loans National, a PGA Tour event he hosts at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Lehman said he was happy to hear Woods is returning to golf.

“I wish him the very, very best. I think we all do,” Lehman said. “Golf is better if a healthy Tiger is out there playing, and he’s such a great player. I would like to see him finish his career strong.”

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