LOS ANGELES – The storm officials have spent all week worrying about arrived late on Friday at the Genesis Open.
At 12:18 p.m. PT, players were pulled off the course and play suspended for the day as rain lashed down and winds whipped to 20 mph. Just 24 players completed the second round at Riviera Country Club and nearly half the field (60 players) hadn’t even teed off when the horn sounded.
Officials plan to resume the second round at 7 a.m. PT on Saturday.
Although conditions remained surprisingly playable for much of the morning given the forecast, the turning point came just after noon when the wind felled a few of the course's large trees.
“It was on [No.] 15 tee, it was like half a tree and there was a huge chunk of it. It was huge,” said Hunter Mahan, who had just teed off on the 16th hole when play was called. “We heard a crack and then it just started to come down and a [fan] was right there. It looked like he would have gotten hit if he didn’t move.”
Jhonattan Vegas moved into a share of the lead at 7 under with Sam Saunders, who hadn’t teed off, and was through 14 holes.
Jordan Spieth, last week’s winner at Pebble Beach, was making one of the morning’s biggest moves and was 3 under for the round (5 under for the tournament) through 16 holes.
“It’s a tough break on this wave, but that happens,” Spieth said. “Just go out tomorrow and play a strong last couple holes and see if we can take advantage this weekend.”
The forecast improves on Saturday, with rain chances dropping to 40 percent at 7 a.m. with winds around 6 mph.
Mark Russell, vice president of rules and competitions for the PGA Tour, said they could have played longer but the forecast wasn’t going to improve as the day progressed and the conditions were getting dangerous. He also said it was “realistic” that the event could finish on Sunday if the forecast cooperates the rest of the weekend.