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High winds halt tourney

LA QUINTA, Calif. — When the wind knocked a big scoreboard into a lake and ripped a few trees out of the ground Saturday, Mark Wilson realized he really didn't mind if he couldn't finish his third round at the Humana Challenge.

Wilson and his fellow pros were more than happy to wait out the windstorm and just come back today, when Wilson will attempt to maintain his momentum for what might be a marathon finish to the erstwhile Bob Hope Classic.

Wilson held a three-stroke lead over Ben Crane at 21 under when play was suspended midway through the third round. Ferocious wind reaching 35 mph caused damage on all three courses, even interrupting former President Bill Clinton's round with Greg Norman.

"I think they made the right call," Wilson said. "You don't want to see anybody get hurt."

The pro-am tournament will resume third-round play this morning without the amateurs. They'll also attempt to finish the fourth round, which could be tough after the event's first wind delay since 1999 and the first on the PGA Tour since 2009 in Houston.

Nobody was hurt at the Humana Challenge, even after an awning collapsed in the Bob Hope Square fan area. Conditions weren't terrible on two of the three courses, but several trees were toppled at the La Quinta Country Club course, making the decision easy.

"It's really bad," said Slugger White, the tour's vice president of rules and competitions. "They've got a lot of trees down. It's a real mess."

La Quinta didn't even get the worst of the Coachella Valley craziness: A 66-mph gust was recorded at the Palm Springs airport.

White said he believes they can finish the four-round event today "in a perfect world." Wilson doubts it after vicious gusts interrupted a previously perfect weekend.

Wilson got through the first eight holes at La Quinta under ideal conditions, but the light winds suddenly turned into gales. He battled to five straight pars before a birdie on his 15th hole of the day, but play was suspended moments later.

CHAMPIONS: Dan Forsman had six back-nine birdies for 7-under 65 and a two-stroke lead after the second round of the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii. Forsman was at 12-under 132. Brad Bryant shot 8-under 64 to match 2010 champion Tom Watson (65) and Jeff Sluman (66) at 10 under.

High winds halt tourney 01/21/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:00pm]
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