PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The first round of the Player Championship finally ended on Saturday afternoon, 54 hours and 16 minutes after the starting shot on Thursday morning.
The show was just beginning.
The front that finally shifted the storm clouds that caused more than nine hours of delay brought with it fierce wind and gusts that approached 40 km / h, the most appalling conditions for a course that can penalize even in calm weather.
It was most evident on the famous green island in hole 17 par-3. For two days in the rain, only four players failed to find land and instead collided with water. That total was equaled by the top four players on Saturday when the round resumed.
The gusts died and Scottie Scheffler spent a lot of time there. A great save by keeper Xander Schauffele after 80 minutes kept the visitors in the game after Xander Schauffele struck from the left with a real cannonball. It reached 15 meters from the green. Brooks Koepka joined them. In the next group, Collin Morikawa hit the water.
For those who had to wait until Saturday to finish the first round, their reward was to return to the TPC Sawgrass and play again, as the wind gusts and temperatures began to drop to the jersey weather for March in Florida.
Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge shared the lead in 6-under 66, scores they posted Thursday. Brice Garnett was the only 67-year-old player to finish his first round on Saturday. He was close to keeping a clean card up to a bogey at number 7, his hole number 16.
Others went down quickly.
Schauffele was 4 down for his round, two shots off the lead, when he hit the water on the 17th and did well to save a bogey.
But in hole 18 – playing so long against the wind that some players needed fairway metal to reach par 4 in two shots – Schauffele drew such a bad lie on the rough that he was only about 15 meters ahead. From there, he hit the water. After a fall, his throw had such a twist in the wind that he retreated about 75 feet toward the fairway.
He finished bogey-quadruple bogey for a 73.
Emiliano Grillo was 2 less when he resumed his round. He pulled out a double bogey in hole 15 with three puttings from 25 feet at number 15. The wind was so strong that his putt reached 8 feet less. He hit two in the water on the 17th, one from the tee, another from the fall zone, by a quadruple bogey. And he finished with a bogey for a 77.
The average score was 71.9, surpassed by Saturday morning’s play. Conditions were nothing more than complicated for the second round, which began even though the first ended.
Officials left as many pines as possible at the easiest spots on the green to account for the conditions, although on the 17th there was nowhere to hide without draining the pond.
The forecast called for dry weather, at least. The cut could not be made until Sunday. Some players who finished on Thursday would probably not hit another shot until three days later. The tournament has secured its first Monday since 2005.
More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The rain is gone, the strong wind is taking over the Players Championship
Source link The rain is gone, the strong wind is taking over the Players Championship