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First round of Maui PGA tournament washed out

By Ann Miller

LAST UPDATED: 3:33 p.m. HST, Jan 4, 2013

KAPALUA, Maui >> Today’s first round of the PGA Tour season ended before it began for a few golfers in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Officials suspended play twice at windy and rainy Kapalua Plantation Course, then wiped out the first round completely, calling the conditions “extreme.”

Ten players had yet to post a score and defending champion Steve Stricker never teed off.

“It started off bad and got worse,” said Slugger White, an official with the tour’s Rules and Competition. “It was pretty nasty out there.”

He cited wind gusts of up to 42 mph that blew a ball off the second green. Asked why the tour had gone ahead with the year’s opening round in the morning, he admitted the huge blasts of wind were not expected.

“I don't think you can just not try to play, we're going to try to play,” White said. “Was it bad?  Yes, it was bad. But you know, there were times out there where it kind of laid down. We were on the fifth hole and that's one of the highest places we have on the golf course, and it was almost … it wasn't benign, but it was actually not too bad.  And that's when we started getting balls rolling on the second hole. We had a ball that was rolling probably like 25 feet.”

They will try to play two rounds Saturday, with the field of 30 starting at 7:30 a.m. off the first and 10th tees.

“I can honestly say the forecast isn't real good,” White admitted, “but maybe we'll get lucky.  That's the hope.”

The first tournament of the year is scheduled to end Monday, about an hour before the kickoff of the BCS National Championship game.

Partial scores ranged from Scott Stallings’ 7 over through four holes to Webb Simpson’s rather remarkable 3 under after seven.

“It stinks for me,” said Simpson, the U.S. Open champ. “I got off to a great start but that's the way it goes.  I'm sure they made the decision that's best for all the guys. The good news is, I had a good start and was playing well.”

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