Snow ruins first day of Match Play
Updated: Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 21:09
Heavy snow in the Arizona desert meant less than four hours' play was possible on the opening day of the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Not one of the 64 players is through to the second round yet and 10 games, including those of top seeds Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and 2011 winner Luke Donald, have yet to start.
McIlroy is due to meet Shane Lowry, while Padraig Harrington takes on Graeme McDowell.
Despite freezing temperatures Sergio Garcia was able to get the tournament off on time at 7.25am, but he was on the 16th green two up against Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee when the action was called off.
Garcia was possibly one putt from victory, but like everybody else was just happy to retreat to the warmth of the clubhouse.
It had been not only cold, but windy and then wet before the rain turned to sleet and eventually to snow.
Also going well were Ian Poulter, champion three years ago, and Lee Westwood. Justin Rose held a two-hole lead over KJ Choi at the turn - but the fifth seed had been four up.
Ryder Cup hero Poulter led Scotland's Stephen Gallacher - winner of the Dubai Desert Classic on his last start three weeks ago - by three after 12, while Westwood stood two up on Garcia's fellow Spaniard Rafael Cabrera Bello after five.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson had a tough time, though. He had to take a penalty drop after his opening drive and bogeyed five of the first seven holes to be three down to Thorbjorn Olesen, the Dane he pushed into second place in Abu Dhabi last month.
Bristol's Chris Wood, who won his first European Tour title a week later in Qatar, was level with Masters champion Bubba Watson after six, while McDowell and Harrington had only just teed off when they were called in.
The snow should have cleared by the morning, but there is the possibility of frost that could further delay things.
The tournament does have the ability to make up a lot of lost time, however, with the likeliest scenario now being that the third round and quarter-finals will both be staged on Saturday.