Kuchar in front and facing a sprint at Barclays

Posted Aug. 26, 2011, at 9:46 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 26, 2011, at 10:30 p.m.

EDISON, N.J. — What once looked to be a long week at The Barclays suddenly has turned into a sprint.

Matt Kuchar heard the news from his walking scorer when he reached the eighth green Friday that the PGA Tour’s opening playoff event would be reduced to 54 holes on Saturday because of Hurricane Irene. By then, the defending champion had already left his mark on Plainfield Country Club with a 6-under 65.

That gave Kuchar a one-shot lead at 14 under over Dustin Johnson and Vijay Singh, and it could loom large.

Even now, no one is sure what to expect from Irene. The plan is to start the third and final round Saturday morning and hope to finish before the storm arrives. If the rain shows up early and they can’t finish, it will revert to a 36-hole tournament.

Johnson missed birdie putts inside 10 feet on his last three holes and still shot 63. Singh, who has gone 67 starts on the PGA Tour since his last win at the BMW Championship in 2008, two-putted for par from 40 feet on his last hole for a 64.

It’s the first time a FedEx Cup playoff event has been reduced to 54 holes since the series began in 2007, and there was not much choice. Plainfield already had received about 10 inches of rain the past two weeks and 10 more were expected Sunday. There also were safety issues. Crews began dismantling electronic scoreboards Friday afternoon and an army of volunteers from the area had to m ake their own plans to evacuate, if necessary.

Canadian Women’s Open

MIRABEL, Quebec — Angela Stanford and Ai Miyazato took advantage of soft greens and calm conditions to top the leaderboard after the second round of the Canadian Women’s Open.

Stanford shot a 6-under 66 and Miyazato had a 68 to reach 11-under 133 on the tree-lined Hillsdale Golf Club course north of Montreal.

Song-Hee Kim was third at 9 under after a 68, with eight players another stroke back, including defending champion Michelle Wie, who shot a 69. Paula Creamer also was in the group after a 68.

The cut was at 1 under, tying the record in the national championship set in 1998 — when the event was the du Maurier Classic — at Essex in Windsor, Ontario. Eighty of 155 players in the field broke par Friday.

Boeing Classic

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Russ Cochran shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Jeff Sluman after the first round of the Champions Tour’s Boeing Classic.

Cochran, the Senior British Open winner last month, had an eagle, five birdies and a bogey at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer was two strokes back at 68 along with Hale Irwin and Ted Schulz. The 66-year-old Irwin had a hole-in-one on the par-3 ninth.

Fred Couples, the hometown star coming off a victory Sunday in New York in the Seniors Players Championship, shot a 73.

U.S. Amateur

ERIN, Wis. — UCLA star Patrick Cantlay won two matches at Erin Hills to advance to the U.S. Amateur semifinals, while defending champion Peter Uihlein dropped out in the quarterfinals.

Cantlay beat England’s Tom Lewis 3 and 1 in the round of 16, then edged Max Buckley in 19 holes in the afternoon quarterfinals. Jordan Russell beat Uihlein 2 and 1 to set up a semifinal match with Cantlay.

In the other quarterfinals, Kelly Kraft beat Patrick Rodgers 6 and 4, and England’s Jack Senior edged Jordan Spieth 1-up.

Johnnie Walker Championship

GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Spain’s Ignacio Garrido shot a 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead at 8 under after the second round of the Johnnie Walker Championship.

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn (69) was tied for second with England’s Mark Foster (71) and Kenneth Ferrie (69), Italy’s Lorenzo Gagli (68) and Ireland’s Peter Lawrie (69).

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