NCAA golf: Rain stalls Nallen's birdie streak

Saturday, June 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) _ Rain was the only thing that could cool off Arizona's Chris Nallen, who birdied five straight holes and seven of the front nine before storms halted the NCAA men's golf championship Friday.

Teammate Ricky Barnes remained in the lead as third-round play was suspended due to heavy rain and reports of funnel clouds across central North Carolina.

Oklahoma is in 11th place at 14-over par. The Sooners played most of their round before play was suspended.

OU's Kelsey Cline was 2-under for the tournament and tied for 12th place in the individual standings.

The round was to resume early Saturday morning. The fourth round was to start later in the morning, allowing the 15 teams and nine at-large golfers 30 to 60 minutes rest between rounds at the par-72, 7,088-yard Duke University Golf Club.

Nallen and Florida's Nick Gilliam, who was 3-under through eight holes Friday, were both at 8-under for the tournament and three strokes behind Barnes.

Nallen called it the best nine holes of his career.

``I was in some kind of groove,'' he said. ``All I can do now is try to relax, stay loose and stay focused.''

Barnes was even par through eight holes, good enough to maintain his lead after he tied the Duke course record of 65 on Thursday.

``I was just plodding along, so a delay like this can sometimes be a good thing. It gives me a chance to regroup,'' he said.

Augusta State's Jamie Elson and Chez Reavie of Arizona State were tied for fourth at 6-under.

Arizona led the team standings at 14-under, six ahead of Florida and 13 over Clemson.