On a day that seemed all too familiar to the citizens of Kamloops, a familiar named appeared near the top of the leaderboard at the Home Hardware Pro-Am.
Roger Sloan of Merritt shot three-under 69 on a rainy Thursday at Sun Rivers Resort to sit alone in second at the unofficial 36-hole Canadian Tour event. The only player ahead of Sloan is David Dragoo of Carefree, Ariz., who posted a 68.
Sun Rivers didn’t live up to the “sun” part of its name, with rain falling for much of the round and even forcing a 90-minute delay a little after 2 p.m.
“It was a tough, cold, long day,” Dragoo said.
The teams — the professionals were paired with amateurs as part of the pro-am format — were able to finish their rounds as the skies cleared, but it was a chilly finish for some of the later groups.
“I only played about seven holes in the rain, so I think I got the better end of the draw,” said Sloan, 25. “It cooled down quickly — but I’m used to it. Some of the American boys might have been a little chilly.”
Sloan apparently enjoys playing tournaments around Kamloops — at last year’s Western Championship, a full, four-round Canadian Tour event, he shot 23-under 265 to win by three strokes at Rivershore Golf Links. He had his mom, fiancee and a sister following his group Thursday.
Sloan, who started his round on the back nine, ran into his only bit of trouble on the par-3 15th, where he made bogey.
“It’s probably Canada’s toughest par-3 today — in the rain, into the wind, 235 yards down the hill,” he said. “There was no room for error.
“I had to take an unplayable (lie penalty) because I was 30 yards short in the sagebrush, but I got up and down.”
It seemed a lot of players had one story or another to do with the weather’s effects.
For Matt Jager of Heatherton, Australia, his came on his first hole after the rain delay. Jager shot 71 and is tied for third with Cody Slover of Visalia, Calif.
Jager was putting on the par-3 17th, his eighth hole of the day, and got a little unlucky.
“I went to tap in a one-foot putt, but there was sand on the ball, and it missed,” said the 23-year-old rookie, who tied for fifth in his first Canadian Tour event, the Times Colonist Island Savings Open in Victoria, last weekend.
“It probably happened because it was a little wet, and the bit of sand stuck to the ball. But it was a really short putt.”
After that miss, Jager looked to the sky — and saw some blue rolling in.
“I decided to hang in there,” he said. “That put me to three-over, but I played the last 10 holes in four-under after that.”
The only punishment the weather inflicted on Dragoo was in stopping his momentum.
Dragoo, despite steady rain, had an excellent start, getting to four-under through six holes. But the rain picked up, the horn blew to bring the players off the course, and Dragoo couldn’t find the hot touch again.
“You’re in a rhythm, then you stop,” he said. “You have to go out there and try to find it again.”
Mitch Evanecz of Victoria, Stuart Anderson of Strathmore, Alta., Danny Sahl of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Paul Peterson of Salem, Ore., are tied for fifth at 72.
The final round is scheduled for today at Sun Rivers, with groups starting to tee off just after noon.
The rain did a number on the players yesterday, with exactly half of the 36-man field shooting 75 or worse.
Jager has some recent experience in rough weather. Back in Australia in late May, he was in a pro-am where “we had a month’s worth of rain in a day, with a three- or four-club wind.”
The players were forced to stay on the course then, so Jager wasn’t exactly fazed Thursday.
“They were, by far, the worst conditions I’ve played in,” he said. “Coming here, and seeing how it was this morning, I thought, ‘Oh I did this a couple of weeks ago and managed to get it done.’ ”
But that doesn’t mean Jager — or any of the other golfers, for that matter — wants a repeat of Thursday’s weather.
“I think I would speak for everybody when I say 25 and sunny would be very nice,” Sloan said.