Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Cadillac Championship: McDowell and Woods battle weather

Tiger Woods keeps an eye on Graeme McDowell
Tiger Woods keeps an eye on Graeme McDowell

A clean-up operation was needed at the Blue Monster course in Miami after gusts of over 50 miles per hour disrupted the start of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Seventeen trees were uprooted, television towers blown and the 17th green suffered some damage, while the giant scoreboard by the 18th was reduced to rubble.

Only 30 minutes' play was possible before the thunderstorm caused a suspension of more than two and a half hours and despite it being only a 66-strong field — Americans Bubba Watson and Ben Crane and South African Tim Clark all withdrew before teeing off — the first round was bound to spill into today.

While Crane and Clark failed to recover from injuries Watson wasn’t well enough to play.

On the resumption England's Ross Fisher charged into a share of the early lead with American Matt Kuchar and Australian Adam Scott by sinking putts of 30, 25 and 20 feet on the opening three greens.

Tiger Woods was one over after five, failing to get up and down from a bunker at the short 13th, and trailed his playing partners Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson.

World number four McDowell birdied the 10th and 14th and made two superb recoveries from bunkers to save pars on the 11th and 13th, while Mickelson picked up shots on the 10th and 12th — the two par fives on the back nine — but bogeyed two holes later.

Padraig Harrington was alongside McDowell on two under, while the world's top three of Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Match Play winner Luke Donald — paired together for the first two rounds — all birdied the long first.

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