Snow stops play for day at Dove Mountain

Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:19pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

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

Just over three-and-a-half hours of golf was possible on a bitterly cold and breezy morning before driving 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 had no option but to call off play for the day after waiting a couple of hours to re-evaluate conditions.

Almost two inches of snow covered the entire course, the driving range and the practice putting green at Dove Mountain's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club after 23 of the 32 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 after 12 holes and was stunned by the sudden change in the weather.   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