Fowler flies blind on yardage at windy Kapalua

Fri Jan 4, 2013 10:35pm EST
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(Reuters) - Yardage numbers were often meaningless for Rickie Fowler on a brutal Friday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii where the first round was eventually abandoned because of severe gusting winds.

With golf umbrellas bending sharply in intermittent driving rain and balls being blown off line on the more exposed greens, Fowler realized he simply had to choose his shot and then try to pull it off.

"For the most part, I told my caddie I almost didn't even need any (yardage) numbers today," American Fowler told reporters after the opening round was scrapped because of winds gusting up to 45 mph.

"It's more looking at the shot and seeing what the weather is, just grab a club and pick the flight and hit it. Numbers were kind of irrelevant at times.

"I had a ball that rolled up the hill on (hole) six with a gust; and that was a few holes back from when we finished. We didn't say anything. We were just kind of toughing it out ... guinea pigs up front."

Fowler and fellow American Jason Dufner had teed off as the first pairing of the day in the PGA Tour's season-opening event at the Kapalua Resort.

They had completed only eight holes, with Fowler slipping to three over par and Dufner sitting at one over, when play was suspended.

Organizers later decided to wipe out the first round and send the players out on Saturday in a bid to complete 36 holes.

"After the strong winds that came through and the weather, I felt like it was a smart decision," said Fowler, who booked his place in the elite, winners-only field of 30 with his maiden PGA Tour victory at last year's Wells Fargo Championship.   Continued...