Rain halts Buick Classic

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 24, 2001

The Associated Press


Sunday, June 24, 2001

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Rain halts Buick Classic

The Associated Press

HARRISON, N.Y. – It might take a few days to find out if Tiger Woods can come from behind – very far behind – to win the Buick Classic.

Heavy rain left parts of the already soggy Westchester Country Club under water Saturday, forcing postponement of the third round.

If the round can be played Sunday – there was more rain in the forecast, plus fog – officials said they’d complete the tournament on Monday. But PGA tournament director Slugger White said a Tuesday finish was not out of the question.

Sergio Garcia and Scott Hoch were tied for the second-round lead at 7-under 135, one shot ahead of Mark Wiebe. Woods, who avoided the cut by shooting a 5-under 66 in the second round he completed Friday, was tied for 30th – six shots back.

Garcia birdied the last two of the eight holes of the second round he had left to complete early Saturday and finished with a 67. Hoch birdied No. 18, the ninth hole he had remaining Saturday, to complete a 68.

Seventy-five golfers finished their second rounds under leaden, but dry, skies early Saturday. As the first golfers prepared to head out to the first and 10th tees to begin the third round, a heavy, hour-long rain saturated the course.

”It was incredible,” White said. ”We got an inch of rain in, what? An hour? It was pretty devastating.”

That was on top of the two long rainstorms which forced the suspension of Thursday’s opening round and first caused havoc with this tournament’s schedule.

Garcia’s experience has been typical of most players. He got in 17 holes Thursday but had to be on the tee at 7 a.m. Friday to finish up his opening round. After a wait of 10 hours, he returned to the course Friday evening to play 10 holes before play was halted by darkness.

Back on the tee at 7 a.m. Saturday, Garcia finished up the last eight holes of the second round.

Garcia said following the long week of the U.S. Open – where he shot himself out of contention with a final-round 77 – the rain at the Buick Classic has been a grind.

In fact, Garcia has never experienced a tournament where weather has caused so many problems.

”We’re almost thinking about playing Tuesday,” he said. ”It’s kind of weird to be thinking about that.”

Doubts about playing 72 holes make holding the 54-hole lead especially important, Garcia said.

”Of course, you always try to be leading after every round,” he said. ”But tomorrow, you have to have it in the back of your mind just in case.”

The cut came at 2-over 144, meaning that Woods was in real danger of missing his first cut in 71 tour events after an opening round of 75 Friday morning. He immediately went back on the course for the second round, however, and posted the best second-round score along with Tripp Isenhour, Jerry Smith and Bob Tway.

Tway still missed the cut by three shots, despite his 66. He deserved some award for persistence, however, for playing in a second round after the nightmarish 81 he had in the first.

Tway took 39 putts in that round. For his last 12 holes, he had a double bogey followed by six bogeys, a par and then four more bogeys.