Snow halts WGC Match Play before top seeds tee off
20 Feb 2013 - 21:17:13
Snow halted the opening round of the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship on Wednesday before top seeds Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy could tee off and before any matchup was completed.
Play was set to resume on Thursday with Spain's Sergio Garcia the nearest to victory, leading Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee 2-up and looking at a 12-foot birdie putt at the 15th hole while Thongchai is 96 feet from the cup.
Only 10 of the 64 first-round matches had not teed off when the snowstorm struck at Dove Mountain near Tucson, but those matches included World No. 1 McIlroy of Northern Ireland going against Irishman Steve Lowry.
Woods, who was set to open against US compatriot and friend Charlie Howell, and England's Luke Donald, a top seed set to face German Marcel Siem, also were awaiting their starts when the storm struck to stop play for the day.
Garcia, playing in the bracket whose top seed is South African Louis Oosthuizen, has never trailed against Thongchai, who stumbled with a bogey at the par-5 second and another at the 15th to fall 2-down.
American Matt Kuchar, who could face Garcia in round two, was 3-up on Hiroyuki Fujita after 14 holes, having won three holes in a row starting at the ninth to seize command.
That bracket also saw England's Justin Rose 2-up on South Korean KJ Choi after nine holes, helping by a 54-foot birdie putt to win the opening holes that launched him to 4-up through five holes before Choi rallied.
England's Ian Poulter was 3-up through 12 on Scotsman Stephen Gallacher and Australian Jason Day was 6-up after 10 on American Zach Johnson.
Defending champion Hunter Mahan was 4-up on Italy's Matteo Manassero after nine holes, never trailing after the European found the desert right off the first tee and struggled from there.
South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, was all square after 11 holes with Russell Henley while Aussie Adam scott birdied the par-5 eighth to go 1-up on South African Tim Clark when play was halted.
Reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson and Chris Wood were all square after six holes while reigning British Open champion Ernie Els was 1-up on Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson through three holes.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion, and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell were still on the first hole when play was halted.