Play called off for day at snowy Dove Mountain

Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:54pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

MARANA, Arizona (Reuters) - Dove Mountain looked more like a winter wonderland than a golfing venue after driving snow forced play to be abandoned in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Wednesday.

Just over three-and-a-half hours of golf was possible on a bitterly cold and breezy morning before rain, sleet and then snow led to matches being suspended at the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event.

Ice formed on the greens and, with further snow showers forecast for the rest of the day in Arizona's high desert, officials called off play for the day after waiting a couple of hours to re-evaluate conditions.

Almost two inches of snow covered the entire course, driving range and practice putting green at Dove Mountain's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club after all but 10 matches had started with none finishing.

"Once we got two inches of snow, even if it melted in the next hour or so, it would still take another hour-and-a-half ... to let the golf course drain where we could play," Mark Russell, the PGA Tour's vice president of rules and competition, said.

"We were just spinning our wheels, so we just decided to pull the plug on it. But I don't think we'll have any problem at all if the weather remains nice, finishing Sunday on time."

Officials later said the first round would resume, weather-permitting, from 8.30am local (10.30 a.m. ET) on Thursday with the second round scheduled to start from around noon.

Ian Poulter, the 2010 champion, was 3up on fellow Briton Stephen Gallacher and summed up the feelings of most of his peers by tweeting: "Yes yes the greens are covered in snow in Arizona. Wow it was freezing out there."   Continued...

A World Golf Championship sign is covered in snow after play was suspended during the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament in Marana, Arizona February 20, 2013. Play was suspended at 1807 GMT because of driving rain and snow in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Wednesday. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan