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Wet Kapalua will lead to higher scoring

The maintenance staff at Kapalua gets an early nominee for comeback of the year.

Kapalua received 13 inches of rain over the first three days of the new year, turning the Plantation course into a river just five days before the start of the season-opening Mercedes Championships.

Sand that washed out of some bunkers left an 80-yard trail of silt down the fairways. Officials canceled an amateur tournament Sunday.

``If this was any other golf course, we'd be looking for alternative dates to play this tournament,'' PGA Tour rules official Jon Brendle said.

By Tuesday, everything was almost back to normal. The severe elevation changes on the Plantation course helped allow the course to drain remarkably fast, and the maintenance staff went to work on the bunkers.

``It's gone from a bleak outlook to a very promising outlook,'' tournament chairman Gary Planos said.

Sunshine was in the forecast the rest of the week, and Brendle said preferred lies was not even a consideration.

One thing became clear: The course won't play nearly has firm and fast as it did last year.

Ernie Els won at a record 31-under par, and the shot that had everyone talking was his 400-yard drive on the par-5 15th, which he hit to the bottom of the hill, which left him with only an 8-iron into the green.

During a practice round Tuesday, that wasn't the case.

``I didn't come close to where I was last year,'' he said. ``This year, it's a lot softer. You're not going to see 390-, 400-yard drives this week.''

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