With rain ex­pected, tee times moved up

Austin American-Statesman - - WGC-DELL TECHNOLOGIES MATCH PLAY - By Aaron Tor­res Amer­i­can-States­man Correspondent

A storm’s com­ing. On Fri­day. And it will likely im­pact the WGC-Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play. On Thurs­day, or­ga­niz­ers move up Fri­day’s tee times by two hours across the board be­cause of bad weather that’s ex­pected in the morn­ing. The first match — Danny Wil­lett vs. Rus­sell Knox, in Group 11 — was moved up from a 9:30 start to 7:30, and so on. The Austin Coun­try Club gates will open at 7:15 a.m.

Wade Stet­tner, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist who works with the PGA Tour, said a weak cold front will move into Austin around 10 a.m. That’s when the rains are ex­pected to arrive. Play will au­to­mat­i­cally be sus­pended if there’s a light­ning strike with 6 miles of the course, Stet­tner said.

He added that there’s about a 50 per­cent chance of light­ning Fri­day, but that the storms won’t be se­vere.

The rain is not ex­pected to last very long, and if play is sus­pended, it prob­a­bly will be for two hours. Moving the tee times up meant Fri­day’s rounds could still fin­ish on time in case there is a de­lay.

Af­ter the rain passes through Austin — Stet­tner said less than one-quar­ter of an inch is ex­pected — tem­per­a­tures will rise to the low 80s. The sky will clear. The sun will shine. And golf will re­sume. Ve­gas wins: Jhonat­tan Ve­gas fol­lowed up his stel­lar play Wed­nes­day with an­other solid round Thurs­day. There were a few dif­fer­ences in his first two rounds. He had three birdies on Wed­nes­day. He had five on Thurs­day. Two bo­geys on Wed­nes­day. Three on Thurs­day.

But per­haps the biggest dif­fer­ence be­tween the two days? Ve­gas lost Wed­nes­day. He won Thurs­day.

Ve­gas beat Thomas Pi­eters 3 and 1. Af­ter go­ing toe-to-toe with Bubba Wat­son on Wed­nes­day, play­ing all 18 holes, Ve­gas won his match against Peters on the 17th hole.

“Ob­vi­ously, this course isn’t about hit­ting it far, it’s about cre­at­ing the best an­gles you can to some of these greens,” Ve­gas said. “Some of these greens are so hard, so com­pli­cated, you need to be in the right po­si­tion. I felt like I did that a lit­tle bet­ter than (Pi­eters) did to­day.”

Ve­gas, who grad­u­ated from Texas in 2007, now needs some help to ad­vance in the tour­na­ment. On Fri­day, Wat­son will be matched with Pi­eters, and Ve­gas will go up against Scott Piercey. Ve­gas must beat Piercey and then needs Wat­son to lose to Pi­eters. It’s go­ing to be tough for some­one to beat Wat­son (2-00), es­pe­cially the way he’s been play­ing lately. But Ve­gas (1-1-0) isn’t too wor­ried.

“I feel like I’ve been play­ing good golf lately, and I ob­vi­ously had a tough loss yes­ter­day against Bubba,” Ve­gas said. “But I’ve got to keep my head up and keep play­ing good golf.”

Cell­phone prob­lems: Some spec­ta­tors and fans were frus­trated at the 13th tee box. Ap­par­ently, cell phone ser­vice was hor­ri­ble down in that area, and some fans didn’t have any ser­vice at all. That caused prob­lems for people try­ing to con­nect to ride-hail­ing apps.

So what hap­pened? Other driv­ers were of­fer­ing pa­trons $100 rides to get to the mall.

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