RICHMOND — If match play had been in order, Wednesday's winner of the 96th AT&T Kentucky State Amateur Championship would have gone to the defending champion — Mother Nature.
That not being the case, though, the windy, rain-delayed tournament is scheduled to be decided Thursday at Gibson Bay Golf Course.
All but seven groups finished the second round. The others will resume play Thursday at 7:30 a.m., expecting better conditions.
The field of 156 then will be cut to 70 before the final round begins at 10 a.m.
Rain reduced last year's tournament to 36 holes. Recent University of Kentucky graduate Jordan Blann of Bowling Green took first.
Blann is likely to enter this final round a stroke off the pace set by Chris Morris and Jesse Massie, who have matched two-day totals of 64-70—134. Blann is at 68-67—135, 9 under par.
Next closest of those in the clubhouse are Shawn Tipton (65-74—139) and Brad Faulkner (70-69—139). In all, 20 golfers are under par through 36 holes.
None of the leaders had a more entertaining round than Massie, a recent Eastern Kentucky University graduate out of Trinity High School.
He offset three bogeys and a double bogey with five birdies and an eagle.
"A roller coaster today, for sure," he said. "Big time."
Starting on the back nine, he birdied No. 10, bogeyed 11 and 12, and birdied 14. On 15, where he holed out from 80 yards for eagle Tuesday, Massie hit the cart path, lost his ball and took double bogey.
On the front side, he had a birdie-eagle-bogey start, finishing with birdies on 8 and 9.
His eagle-3 was helped by hitting downwind while the sun made a brief appearance.
"Had a really good drive, hit a 4-iron in there about 15 feet around the hole," he said. "And I was really just trying to 2-putt and get a birdie. It just happened to drop."
Morris, who will be a senior at Centre next fall, is coming off a third-place finish in the NCAA Division III tourney. The Mason County graduate birdied Nos. 12, 2 and 5, with a bogey on 11.
"I got a huge break on the tee time," said Morris, whose appointed time of 12:45 p.m. was delayed until about 3:30, after the rain had stopped.
"Really similar (play) to yesterday, actually," he said. "Just didn't make as many putts. Gave myself good looks all day. No glaring mistakes or anything like that, but 15-, 20-footers just wouldn't go down today."
Blann, a recent UK graduate from Bowling Green, had the best round of the day. He matched Massie's eagle on No. 2 and fired six birdies.
"The wind died down about midway through," Blann said. "The golf course was wet. You can attack the pins when it's wet. ... I wedged it really well and I putted really well, which allowed me to score."
Among the early finishers — if about seven hours after a scheduled tee time is early — was Tipton, from Clay City. What a difference a day's weather made.
"I give it 6 shots anyway, especially for the morning group because of the rain," said Tipton, a recent Morehead State grad. "Played eight holes (with) just wind and then the last, probably, six more after that were rain. Played the last four with no rain."
Lexington's Buddy Bryant, who won State Ams in 1996 and '98, shot 75 for a two-round total of 147.
"We played almost the whole front nine in the rain and, I'll tell you, it was as difficult as anything I've every played in," said Bryant, 48. "And I've played a lot of golf."
Another two-time champion (1990, '97), London's Bill Sergent, would agree. The strongest wind, just before the rain, helped him to back-to-back double bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6.
"This weather, we got a two-hour delay and then it was pretty windy starting out," Sergent said after an 80 left him at 153. "And then it got worse right before the rain came. Then we played probably five or six holes in the rain. The wind and the rain is just pretty nasty conditions, I don't care how good the golf course is."
Morris, Massie and Blann seem certain to be in Thursday's final group.
Morris, a financial economics major who will start a summer internship Friday, said a win would mean a lot.
"This would be the biggest tournament I've ever won," he said. "I've won some college tournaments. But this would be a big step for me in my career. ... It's my home state and I know everyone at home in Maysville is rooting for me, and my family."
Massie noted that he had thoughts of turning pro upon graduation. When he learned that the tournament would be played in Richmond, though, "that kind of swayed my decision (to wait) because I wanted to come back home and play at Gibson Bay, so (a win) would be huge for me."