Lance Lopez cards 63 to tie Bobby Massa at Merrill Lynch Open

Lance Lopez scorched Santa Maria Golf Course with a 9-under-par 63 on Thursday to catch Bobby Massa for the lead midway through the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series Merrill Lynch Open.

Massa retained a share of the lead in the $125,000 event after opening with a 7-under 65 on Wednesday, coming back with a 66 on Thursday.

Lopez and Massa have a two-stroke lead on four golfers at 11-under: Mark Walker Devin Carrey, Brad Besler and Matthew Vela.

Vela shot a 64 that included an eagle on the par-4 sixth hole and another on the par-5 18th.

The second round was suspended by heavy rain with five players on the course.

Play will resume at 8 a.m. Friday, with a cut to the low 44 players and ties to follow. The third round is expected to begin at 10 a.m.

Lopez, who won last month in the Adams Tour’s Fakier Open in Houma and leads the tour money list, carded nine birdies and no bogeys on his round. He closed with birdies at 15, 17 and 18 to forge a tie with Massa.

Massa, whose best finish this season was a third in the Coca-Cola Walmart Open in Alexandria, also had a bogey-free round.

Baton Rouge’s Greg Berthelot is in contention, tied for 11th at 7-under 137 after rounds of 68 and 68. Fellow Baton Rougean Andrew Landry is another stroke back at 138 after sharing the lead with a 65 on Wednesday that was followed by a 73.

Amateur Brandt Garon of Baton Rouge was tied for 42nd at 3-under with three holes left. Also right on the cut line at 3-under were Luling’s Andrew Noto and Bossier City’s Cody Santone (3-under through 16).

Baton Rouge’s Brett Baker looked like he would just miss the cut, tied for 51st at 142. Defending champion Michael Arnaud is also at 2-under and in line to miss the cut.

The tournament continues through Saturday. There is no admission charge.