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Wind delays PGA opener again

KAPALUA, Hawaii — For those who think the PGA Tour season never ends, here's a new twist: This one can't get started.

The start of the season-opening Tournament of Champions was postponed for a second straight day Saturday because of wind gusts that topped 40 mph and made it impossible to play. Unlike the previous day, when 24 players teed off before the round was called off, no one hit a shot on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

"We tried as best we could," said Slugger White, the tour's vice president of rules and competition. Play was delayed three times before it was called for the day.

The season now is scheduled to start today with hopes of playing 36 holes, followed by an 18-hole finish Monday.

The last time the Tournament of Champions, the event for the previous year's winners, was reduced to 54 holes was 1997, when Tiger Woods hit a 7-iron to a foot to beat Tom Lehman in a playoff when a par 3 at La Costa in Carlsbad, Calif., was the only hole that could be used because of so much rain.

The wind has been relentless for two days. The back nine of the Plantation Course is higher up the mountain and more exposed. White and the rules officials found that golf balls kept moving on the 10th, 11th and 13th holes.

"On the 10th hole, we dropped a ball on the back of the green, and it rolled 20 yards off the front," White said.

The wind caused another ball to roll uphill, he said.

"It's just a little too windy out there for us to play," Brandt Snedeker said. "If the course wasn't so exposed, it wouldn't be a problem. But you have a lot of greens exposed to 40 mph wind gusts."

New year's invitational: Second-round leader Toni Hakula shot 2-under 70 to maintain the championship division lead at 8-under 208 after three rounds of the 87th annual tournament at St. Petersburg Country Club. Lee McCoy was two shots back after 71, and David Lee (69) was another shot back in third. The final round is today. Tom Hyland won the senior division with a third-round 68 that put him at 221, 10 shots better than Stuart Sierra (77).

Wind delays PGA opener again 01/05/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 5, 2013 7:59pm]

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