Tiger Woods only needed two holes to extend his lead at The Arnold Palmer Invitational to three shots before storms in the Orlando area forced a halt in action at Bay Hill. Woods birdied the second hole, and got to -12 under par for the tournament, and a three shot lead over his playing partner, Rickie Fowler. Keegan Bradley got four holes in, and two birdies to join the party of players three back, including John Huh, who was even par for the day, and Ken Duke, who was one under before play was halted.
The storms came, and dumped nearly an inch and a half of rain on the golf course which formed small ponds in the fairway. They even found a fish in the middle of the 18th fairway when they were cleaning up. The wind toppled the TV tower behind the 10th green, which was a pile of metal poles, wood, mesh netting and had a stationary camera in the middle of it all.
With tornado warnings in the area, officials decided with the time needed to clean up the golf course, they would go ahead and cancel play, and resume it on Monday at 10 AM. This will be the second time this year that Tiger Woods has had to wait until Monday to finish a weather delayed round where he had the lead.
Mark Russell, the TOUR’s vice president of rules and competition,officials discussed whether to play early Sunday from two tees to try to beat the storms. He said NBC Sports was involved in the discussions — Woods going for the win, with Fowler at his side is sure to boost ratings — and they rolled the dice.
“If we played early, it was going to be a tape-delay situation. People were going to know who won before it came on television, so it defeats our television partners,” he said. “They wanted to take a chance. They’ve been involved in several situations where we played early and it didn’t rain. It was just unfortunate.”
Tiger Woods is looking for his eighth victory at Bay Hill, and a victory here would give him his third win for the season. The win would also move him back to the number one status in the OWGR, and push him past Brandt Snedeker for the FedEx Cup points lead. Snedeker missed the cut at Bay Hill, and the current world number one, Rory McIlroy will not play until next week in Houston.
“At least we got a little activity in today, so we’re not completely stagnant,” Woods said before leaving. “We’ve dealt with this before.”
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