Rickie Fowler battled breezy conditions to card a 3-under 70 Monday morning. (Petersen/Getty Images)
By Ann Miller for PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Maui — Even by Hawaiian time, it took a while for the 2013 PGA TOUR season to get going.
Monday, more than 72 hours after it was originally scheduled to start at Kapalua’s Plantation Course, Rickie Fowler finally finished the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The 2012 Wells Fargo Championship winner had a share of the lead when he fired a 3-under-par 70.
Fowler three-putted the final hole (663-yard par-5), hitting an 8-iron in to reach the huge green in two shots. But he left himself 75 feet to the pin and his first putt, on greens intentionally slowed because of the wind, was more than 20 feet short.
“It was nice to finally get a round in,” Fowler said. “Hit some good shots, a few rough ones, but crazy things can happen when it’s going like this. Nice to get one in. Looking forward to getting back out this afternoon.”
Fowler finished eight holes in Friday’s weather-abbreviated start, taking double-bogey on the last to fall to 3 over. That was erased, along with his even-par score through five holes Sunday, when brutal wind gusts forced TOUR officials to halt, then erase, the rounds. Saturday’s schedule was scrapped before it began when gusts of 50 mph-plus blew.
Monday, with winds at a sustained 20-30 mph, the first 18 holes started on time and Fowler finished inside four hours. He and playing competitor Jason Dufner had about an hour before they were scheduled to go back on the Plantation for the second round.
The final round is scheduled for Tuesday, with the tournament cut to 54 holes. It is the first time since the Tournament of Champions moved to Maui in 1999 that weather has cut it short.
Fowler was last seen Sunday sitting on his golf bag in the fairway, playing the bottom like a bongo drum. When play was suspended, he characterized the weather as “almost exactly the same as Friday minus the H2O flying through the air.”
He insisted he was having fun, but Monday was much more enjoyable with conditions fairly normal for Kapalua.
Fowler shot 1-under 35 on the front nine. After a bogey on the 11th, he dropped birdie putts of five, eight and 23 feet at the 12th, 15th and 16th.
“It was nice, felt pretty calm out there actually from the winds that we’ve seen,” Fowler said. “Nice to get out. The greens are a little slow just to make it playable and keep the ball on the green. Had a few come up short but it was fun.”