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Rain washes out first days play

The opening round of the PGA Tour’s Sony Open was postponed by 24 hours on Thursday because of a waterlogged course following heavy overnight rain.

The scheduled start was twice put back by organisers before any hope of play was abandoned at Waialae Country Club where practice facilities have been closed for the last two days.

Several fairways and bunkers on the tight, palm tree-lined course were unplayable and further rain is forecast in the Honolulu area later on Thursday and also on Friday.

“We’ve had four or five inches of rain overnight and the golf course is under water,” PGA Tour vice-president of rules and competition Mark Russell told the Golf Channel.

“But our meteorologist tells us that most of this bad weather is south of us so hopefully we’ll get a little break and we can get out there and play tomorrow.”

Organisers hope to play the first two rounds on Friday and Saturday with the final 36 holes scheduled for Sunday. The leading 60 players advance after the tournament’s halfway cut.

Asked if a Sunday finish was still possible, Russell replied: “If this weather cooperates, I think we can do that but right now it’s very wet out there. It cannot take any more.

“The regulations say we’ve got to play 72 holes … and we are worried about doing that here. Hopefully we won’t have to play Monday but if we do have to play, we certainly will.”

American Ryan Palmer, who clinched last year’s title at Waialae by with a one-shot victory over Australian Robert Allenby, summed up the frustrations for the players.

“You don’t come here expecting this,” Palmer told reporters. “You come here expecting to get in the water and get a tan. It’s unfortunate for Sony and this great tournament.”

Compatriot Paul Stankowski tweeted: “I have not miss-hit a shot in two days!!! Wait a minute … I haven’t hit a shot in two days! Rain, rain, go away. It’s on tomorrow! Maybe.”

Former champions Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are among those seeking to win the PGA Tour’s first full-field event of the season.

The 2011 Tour began last week on the Hawaiian island of Maui where Jonathan Byrd won the elite, winners-only Tournament of Champions in a playoff with fellow American Robert Garrigus.


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