The Tradition
The Tradition
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Snow falls and Marsh rises

Graham Marsh has no complaints with wintry weather in April.

For the second time in four days, spring snowstorms forced a cancellation of play at The Tradition, leaving the 55-year-old Aussie with his second major championship on the Senior PGA Tour.

He backed into the title today when the tournament was called off after 36 holes, giving him his sixth seniors title.

"There are no guarantees -- had we gone another round -- that I would have been the winner," he said. "There's never any guarantees in golf. But, nevertheless, I can console myself by saying that I played the best golf for 36 holes."

This was the first time the senior tour shortened one of its five 72-hole tournaments to 36 holes.

"It's anticlimactic, isn't it?" said Marsh, the first international winner of the 11-year-old event. "It's gone. There isn't the excitement of the chase. It's all sitting around and waiting."

Marsh shot a 3-under-par 69 Thursday and 67 Saturday -- between two intense snows -- to beat Larry Nelson by three strokes. The $225,000 winner's purse raised his 1999 earnings to $403,550, a jump from 12th to third on the money list.

Nelson, who did not stay around to comment, won $132,000, improving to $530,148 in eight events, and remained second behind money leader Bruce Fleisher.

Only about an inch of snow frosted the slopes of Desert Mountain, but the Cochise Course was waterlogged from Thursday's heavy rain and 4 inches of snow on Friday. The round was called off at 10:45 a.m. after two delays that totaled 1-1/2 hours.

"We looked at four greens," said Brian Henning, the tour's vice president of competition. "We came across piles of ice, which wouldn't melt away at all. And underneath all this, of course, is water. We've had enough rain and snow, which melts to water, to make the greens unplayable."

The tour cannot carry over a tournament to Monday unless the final round was started on Sunday.

The only other Tradition that didn't go four rounds was in 1990, when Jack Nicklaus won the first of his four titles. Rain and hail forced a cancellation of the first round.

The mountainside course is an elevation of 3,200 feet, far above metropolitan Phoenix and most of Scottsdale, and acts as a magnet for most passing storms.

Since 1996, at least one round each year has been plagued by wind, rain or ice, prompting Marsh to question whether it should remain on Easter weekend.

"It now appears that this date is not a good date weatherwise," he said. "This is my sixth Tradition. First year I was here it was wonderful, and it was the same date. Second year we had a couple of poor days and couple of reasonable days, and the last four years it's just been miserable."


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