First wind, then rain: Shell Houston Open can't catch a break
HUMBLE, Texas – It turns out it might have been better if Redstone Golf Club’s Tournament Course had been prepped to prepare players for the British Open, not the Masters.
The very characteristics that attracted the best field ever for the Shell Houston Open jumped up to bite it during Round 1 on Thursday. Early morning thunderstorms that swept through the area delayed the start of the tournament by more than two hours, then the unthinkable happened. At 12:50 local time, the horn blew and the players came in. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Heck, it wasn’t even cold.
But the winds were sustained at 25 mph with gusts up to 40 with no relief in sight on Thursday.
As far as we know this has never happened at the Shell Houston Open. The last time wind halted play on the PGA Tour was at the 2007 Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head, S.C. But that’s on the ocean.
The gusts in Houston were strong, to be sure, but the fact that the greens were running about 12 feet on the Stimpmeter to prepare players better for Augusta’s greens, meant balls were blowing all over place. As it was, rounds probably would have approached six hours as players backed away time and time again, afraid to address their putts.
Only a few players finished nine holes. Lee Westwood managed a 4-under 32 to lead the event.
Basically, the first round was a washout? and wind-out. Many players won’t even start Round 2 until Saturday.
The good news, though, is that the forecast is sunny the rest of the week, and hopefully, not too windy.
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