The second round of the US PGA Tour’s inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan was postponed on Friday because of heavy rain with Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland leading the 78-player event.
Officials made the decision half an hour before the scheduled 7am start after overnight showers turned heavy with forecasts of up to 130mm of rain falling over the next 24 hours at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.
The second round is to be played today, with a 6:30am start, and followed by the third round.
“The golf course has already taken on four-tenths of an inch [10.16mm] of rain, so it has actually reached the point of saturation and it’s become unplayable,” PGA Tour vice president of rules and competitions Gary Young said. “With more rain in the forecast and three to five inches of rain [75mm to 130mm] for the day, we thought the right decision was to call off play.”
Golfers are to stay in the same three-ball groupings for the third round, which is to begin immediately after completion of the second round and continue until dusk today, at about 5:30pm.
“In our planning, that should leave us with approximately two hours of golf to complete on Sunday morning,” Young added.
The groups are to be reformed for tomorrow’s fourth round, with leaders going out last at about 9am if there are no further delays.
“That should have us completing play somewhere around 4pm and leave us a bit of room for a playoff,” Young said.
However, PGA Tour meteorologist Stewart Williams said that rain could return tomorrow, possibly forcing an extra day.
“If we’re not able to complete play by Sunday, we will go into Monday,” Young confirmed.
US Masters champion Woods got off to a terrible start on Thursday before roaring back with nine birdies in 15 holes to share the lead with US Open champion Woodland.
Three-over-par after three holes, Woods stormed back in stunning fashion for a six-under-par round of 64 and already had one eye on the weather, and the possibility of extended play Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re going to have a long, long weekend of a lot of golf. Hopefully I can keep it going,” the 15-time major winner said.
The American duo is to head into the delayed second round with a one-shot lead over home favorite Hideki Matsuyama.
Woods’ 64 on Thursday was the lowest season-opening round of his long career and came as the 43-year-old chases an 82nd PGA Tour victory to tie the all-time record held by Sam Snead.
Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland withdrew after slumping to a first round 11-over-par 81 on Thursday. The 2010 US Open winner did not a give a reason for pulling out, but had been battling a wrist injury earlier this season.
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