False alarm on mis­sile cre­ates un­easy mo­ment at Sony Open

San Francisco Chronicle - - SPORTS -

Charles How­ell III was eat­ing break­fast in his Honolulu ho­tel when the restau­rant at the Ka­hala started buzzing.

Ev­ery­one had their phones. Ev­ery­one re­ceived the same push alert.

“BAL­LIS­TIC MIS­SILE THREAT IN­BOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IM­ME­DI­ATE SHEL­TER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

“All the alarms went off at the same time,” How­ell said. “It got ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion. I didn’t know what to do. We all stared at each other. It kind of shows you the world we live in now. Your whole life can change in a sec­ond.”

The push alert turned out to be a mis­take.

The scare lasted only about 10 min­utes, a lit­tle longer de­pend­ing on the source of in­for­ma­tion.

Some play­ers at least knew about Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard, whose tweet that it was a false alarm made the rounds quickly. But it was long enough to cre­ate an un­set­tling start to the third round of the Sony Open from the brief un­cer­tainty and panic across the is­land.

When the Hawaii Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency tweeted there was no mis­sile threat, J.J. Spaun replied on Twitter, “In a base­ment un­der ho­tel. Barely any ser­vice. Can you send con­firmed mes­sage over ra­dio or tv.”

John Peter­son was play­ing in the fi­nal group Satur­day, one of five play­ers who were three shots out be­hind leader Brian Har­man. He is trav­el­ing with his wife, her par­ents and their 3-month-old son.

“Un­der mat­tresses in the bath­tub with my wife, baby and in-laws. Please lord let this bomb threat not be real,” Peter­son tweeted.

The push alert was is­sued shortly af­ter 8 a.m., and Wa­ialae Coun­try Club was largely empty be­cause the first tee time was not un­til 11:05 a.m.

Euro­pean Tour: Chris Pais­ley leads by a shot over home fa­vorite Bran­den Grace go­ing into the fi­nal round of the South African Open in Jo­han­nes­burg. Pais­ley re­mained calm in a 2-un­der 70 in the third round to move to 15 un­der over­all and took the out­right lead af­ter shar­ing it with Adrien Sad­dier overnight.

Three play­ers are tied for third on 12 un­der and three shots off the lead. They are Sad­dier, Chase Koepka and Jac­ques Blaauw. Koepka, the younger brother of U.S. Open cham­pion Brooks Koepka, put to­gether a 68 on Satur­day and is in his first sea­son on the Euro­pean Tour and also search­ing for a first vic­tory.

Two-time U.S. Open cham­pion Retief Goosen was tied for fourth af­ter the sec­ond round at Glen­dower Golf Club in Jo­han­nes­burg but his search for a first win since 2009 took a hit with a 1-over 73 Satur­day. Goosen is now tied for 20th.

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