High winds ham­per ACE Group Clas­sic

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Golfers oc­ca­sion­ally catch a break in rough weather be­cause of when they tee off. That was the case for Ron­nie Black on Fri­day.

Black was one of only nine play­ers in a field of 81 to fin­ish the first round of the ACE Group Clas­sic af­ter high winds that gusted near 65 kilo­me­tres an hour sus­pended play un­til Satur­day.

Black shot a 69 and is tied for the lead at 3-un­der with both Fred Cou­ples and Tommy Ar­mour III, who fin­ished 10 and 11 holes, re­spec­tively. This is Cou­ples’ first full-field Cham­pi­ons Tour event, and Ar­mour’s first ever.

“I had an ad­van­tage be­cause I got out early,” said the 51-year-old Black, who has two top-10 fin­ishes in 26 Tour events.

Black birdied Nos. 3, 5, 7 and 8 — all from 12 feet or closer — then scram­bled to make par on the par- 5 10th af­ter hit­ting his tee shot in the wa­ter. He bo­geyed No. 11, run­ning a birdie putt 4 1/2 feet past the hole and miss­ing the par putt com­ing back. He re­sponded with a birdie on the par-5 12th, but bo­geyed the par-3 15th.

Play was sus­pended at 12:39 p.m. when a num­ber of holes were deemed un­playable. Golfers were al­lowed to fin­ish the hole they were on, then called off the course at 1 p.m. Play was called for the day forty-five min­utes later.

The first round will re­sume at 8 a.m. ET on Satur­day. Play­ers will be re-paired for the sec­ond round, sched­uled to tee off at 12:30 p.m.

It turns out No. 11, the most ex­posed hole on the course, was the real prob­lem area as the winds picked up Fri­day.

“It’s a shame be­cause it’s re­ally the only hole,” said Cham­pi­ons Tour tour­na­ment di­rec­tor Brian Claar. “For a cou­ple of min­utes it’s playable, and then a cou­ple of min­utes it’s not.”

The clincher on No. 11 was the last group on the hole be­fore play was sus­pended. Joey Sin­de­lar hit a chip onto the green, and it rolled back to him be­cause of the wind. Then play­ing part­ner Bob Tway chipped left of the flag, and the ball rolled and rolled to the right — car­ried by the wind — be­fore stop­ping in a sprin­kler head.

Claar said the sec­ond round likely would not be fin­ished to­day, since the last group won’t tee off un­til 2:30 p.m.

That means the sec­ond round would be com­pleted early Sun­day, and the field would be re-paired again and go off split tees for the fi­nale. Claar still ex­pects the tour­na­ment to be com­pleted by 5 p.m. on Sun­day, bar­ring any more weather de­lays. NE­WARK, N.J. (AP) — Ilya Ko­valchuk made his first goal with the slump­ing Devils a big one, snap­ping a third-pe­riod tie to lead New Jer­sey to a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Preda­tors on Fri­day night.

Ac­quired in a block­buster trade

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