Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Sergio Garcia   (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)
Play was suspended because of a snowstorm at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship after less than four hours of action in Tucson.

Not one of the 32 first round matches had been completed and top seeds Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald had not even teed off when play was halted.

Closest to making progress was Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who was two up against Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee on the 16th green, while 2010 winner Ian Poulter led Scot Stephen Gallacher by three after 12 and Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose was two holes in front of South Korean K J Choi at the turn.

That was not as good a position as it might have been for the fifth seed. Rose won four of the first five holes, but his opponent birdied the short sixth and 476 yard ninth.

It was freezing cold as Garcia struck the opening shot of the first World Golf Championships event of the season at 7.25am and that was followed by gusts of over 20mph, then rain, sleet and eventually snow.

At least the forecast for the rest of the week was better, but for Donald and Martin Kaymer snow brought back memories of their 2011 final on the same course.

Poulter, unbeaten for Europe in Chicago last September, is playing his first event since the first week of January, but struck first with a birdie on the fourth against Gallacher, who on his last start won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic three weeks ago.

Gallacher was still only one down after seven, but conceded the next and did the same at the tenth after straying onto the desert scrub.

Poulter was close to going out of bounds on the long 11th, but scrambled a half in par fives when his opponent, just over the back of the green in two, failed to get up and down.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson, winner in Abu Dhabi last month, fell three down after seven to Dane Thorbjørn Olesen, but seventh seed Lee Westwood quickly moved two up on Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello and fellow Englishman Chris Wood was all square with Masters Tournament champion Bubba Watson after six.

"It's like playing at home in January," said Wood, whose first European Tour title came in the warmth of Qatar four weeks ago. "It was cold when we teed off and then got colder.

"Bubba said he was going to get a ruling, which we thought was a good idea, and the referee said play had already been called off."

McIlroy against Shane Lowry was one of two all-Irish clashes, Graeme McDowell facing Padraig Harrington was the other, while Woods was taking on fellow American Charles Howell and Donald's opening opponent was German Marcel Siem.

Two hours into the stoppage it was still snowing and the prediction was for an accumulation of two to four inches and temperatures barely above freezing.

Even if the skies cleared by mid-afternoon the chances of more play before nightfall appeared slim.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
-BRADLEY, KeeganUSA-
-CHOI, K JKOR-
-DAY, JasonAUS-
-DUFNER, JasonUSA-
-FOWLER, RickieUSA-
-FUJITA, HiroyukiJPN-
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