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Snow suspends play at Match Play Championship

5:40 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Snow falls as the video board reads 'Where is Bubba Watson?' as play was suspended due to weather during the first round of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 20, 2013 in Marana, Arizona. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

MARANA, Ariz. - Snow turned Wednesday's first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship into a white out.

Frost will deal a cold hand, too, the rest of the week.

A low pressure system and cold front moving across the state sent temperatures tumbling and heavy snow falling to first delay, and then suspend play at Dove Mountain. Only 21 of the 32 matches started; world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and world No. 2 Tiger Woods didn't hit one shot.

Play was first delayed at 1:07 p.m. ET as high winds mixed with temperatures in the low 40s turned rain into snow and sent the bundled players back to the warmth of the clubhouse. It snowed for nearly two hours - sometimes sideways. Accumulation was up to 4 inches on some parts of the course when play was called for the day. Greens, cacti, rocks and bunkers all turned white.

"I've never actually played golf to the point where we've actually stopped for snow, which is kind of crazy. But that's just how it is. Mother Nature can just do whatever she wants," said Jason Day, who was 6 up on Zach Johnson through 10 holes before play was halted.

Drizzle first fell, then hard rain, then sleet and then snow.

"It's absolutely remarkable to think one minute we're playing golf, albeit it's a little cool, and then within a space of 25 minutes, it turns from playable to cold drizzle to sleet and to snow," said Ian Poulter, who was 3 up through 12 on Stephen Gallacher. "And within an hour and a half of all that starting, you've got 2 inches of snow plus on the ground. It's just bizarre."

Day said players expected rain and cold and he had four layers of clothing on to start the day. He later added a rain suit.

"You had to put the umbrella up because (the sleet) started hurting once it hit your face," Day said. "After that, then it just started snowing and then just didn't stop."

Players made the most of the cold situation. Branden Grace threw snowballs. Graeme McDowell told players that skis and ski boots were available at the front desk. According to a Luke Donald tweet, hefty Carl Pettersson had the quote of the day: "This is only one of few times it's an advantage to be fat." And desserts in player dining went quickly.

"I had three - two chocolate mousse servings and one chocolate-covered strawberry on a stick," Day said. "It seems like every rain delay or snow delay that we have, you just seem to sit there and eat dessert."

There have been plenty of delays this year on the Tour. Heavy winds delayed the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Championship for three days in Hawaii and fog wiped out an entire day at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pine

(USA Today)

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