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Friday, 11 March 2011
The World's top three - Kaymer, Westwood and Donald  (Getty Images)
The World's top three - Kaymer, Westwood and Donald (Getty Images)

History was made at 3.39pm local time in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship as the world's top three - Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald - teed off in the same group.

It was the first time that three Europeans, occupying the highest territory in professional golf, had played together with World Number One Kaymer from Germany, Number Two Westwood and his fellow Englishman, Donald, in third position going into the event in Miami.

The high powered threeball teed off almost three hours after their scheduled start time, as only 30 minutes play was possible before a fierce thunderstorm hit the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Doral Resort and Spa.

The Blue Monster course was torn to shreds - first by gusts of over 50 miles per hour during a brief but violent thunderstorm, then by some of golf's greatest players.

Seventeen trees were uprooted, television towers blown over and the 17th green damaged by flying debris, while the giant scoreboard by the final hole was reduced to rubble shortly after the start.

Despite the suspension, when play resumed the calm and soft conditions meant the course was there for the taking.

Hunter Mahan, the American whose defeat to Graeme McDowell saw Europe clinch The Ryder Cup last October, led the way at seven under par after only 11 holes when darkness came.

“I guess with that storm it brought some tranquility to the golf course, because there was just no wind,” he said. “There was nothing out there.  The course is in perfect shape, I was seeing there was a bunch of low scores.

“So good players and a good golf course and benign conditions, you're going to have some good scores.”

Mahan, winner of another World Golf Championships event in Akron seven months ago, was two in front of a group which included Kaymer and Donald.

They were the finalists, of course, at the WGC-Accenture Match Play only a fortnight ago, but World Number Two Westwood was going well too in their company. He stood four under after a superb up and down from sand at the long tenth.

“I had a fantastic start with three birdies, and then I played very, very solid golf,” said Kaymer. “My putting was good. 

“I hit a lot of fairways but to be honest, it was not that difficult today. You can see the scores, a bunch of people are under par and a bunch of people are three, four under par so it doesn't seem that difficult.”

The 69-strong field had already been reduced to 66, Americans Bubba Watson and Ben Crane and South African Tim Clark all withdrawing before they teed off.

While Crane and Clark failed to recover from injuries in time Watson had decided he was not well enough to play.

Mahan kicked off with four straight birdies on the back nine and had picked up further shots at the 16th, 17th and first by the close.

Alongside Kaymer and Donald on five under were Americans Charley Hoffman, one of only a handful of players to complete their rounds, Matt Kuchar and Nick Watney, Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa and 48 year old Fijian Vijay Singh.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, Scot Martin Laird and Swede Robert Karlsson were alongside Westwood, while defending champion Ernie Els, Ireland's Padraig Harrington, Italy’s Francesco Molinari and England's Ross Fisher were one further back.

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