Rain, cold, wind combine to make life miserable for golfers
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ducks waded through standing water on fairways. Some bunkers flooded. Golfers put waterproof winter mittens on between shots.
Ah yes. Welcome to the World Cup of Golf on Friday at Metropolitan. If the format was match play, the rain, cold and windy weather would have beaten the golfers 10 and 8.
But it was foursomes, where players hit alternate shots, and where one might curse under their breath at the predicament their teammate had left them in — the rough, on mud, in a bunker or with a difficult angle into the green.
If so, there was a lot of that going on Friday with a high temperature of 14 Celsius (58 Fahrenheit) and winds gusting to 35 kilometers an hour (20 mph).
Survival mode, for the most part. And Belgium and South Korea survived it best, tied for the lead after two rounds.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton angrily smashed the tee marker on the 10th hole after his shot went into the woods. He and his partner, Ian Poulter, bogeyed the hole.
“Obviously that wasn’t a great moment, it was kind of a reaction without thinking,” Hatton said. “The shot wasn’t much better, either.”
Poulter wondered if play should have been stopped, saying it was “questionable” if the course had become unplayable.
“The only questionable issue I think that we found ourselves in was some water in quite a few bunkers,” he said. “We had to play a number of shots from a decent amount of water in the trap and that’s difficult to do.”
Anirban Lahihri, who combined with Gaganjeet Bhullar to have India just two strokes behind the leaders, said it was like playing in Scotland.
“We both have some experience playing links golf and you can draw to that with this,” Lahiri said. “We both played overseas and you needed that today.”
Gavin Green of Malaysia, also two strokes behind with partner Ben Leong, said he’d gladly take his team’s 73.
“Wind was everywhere, it was cold, it was wet,” Green said. “Just keeping our clubs dry was a bonus.”
Marc Leishman, who described the conditions as “brutal,” grew up in Victoria state not far from Melbourne.
“You know when it’s like this in Melbourne, especially on a golf course like this, it’s going to be tough,” Leishman said after he and Australia teammate Cameron Smith finished with 76. “Bogey on the last, but it was probably not a terrible round.”
Smith said he and Leishman had a typical Aussie attitude to the atrocious conditions.
“We tried to keep it lighthearted out there,” said Smith, who is from subtropical Queensland state. “We knew it was going to be a long day. I was so cold all day I couldn’t feel my hands. I couldn’t really feel anything.”
The effect of the rain was obvious early: scores from the first six teams on the par-4 first hole were two pars, a bogey, two double bogeys and a triple bogey.
Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent and Benjamin Follett-Smith were among those six teams, and it didn’t get any better for them. They finished with 84.
But that wasn’t the worst score of the day of the 28 countries. Alexander Tranacher and Peter Karmis of Greece combined to shoot 87, including three triple-bogey 7s.
The last word on the terrible day belongs to a guy tied for first, Belgium’s Thomas Detry.
“We’re happy it’s done and I’m excited for my shower tonight.”