SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Cold? Thursday wasn’t cold. At least not the way Tom Lehman, who grew up in Minnesota, saw it.
“One time in high school a kid broke his hand but didn’t know it until the ride home because his hands were numb all day,” Lehman recalled. “That’s cold. Today wasn’t there.”
Maybe so, but the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open began with a four-hour frost delay and the temperature Thursday never topped 46 degrees. Still, the 51-year-old Lehman managed to fire a 65 that left him tied with Bill Haas, Tom Gillis and Jason Bohn for the lead.
Everyone who played in the “morning” wave was able to complete his round. The farthest anyone got in the afternoon half of the draw was nine holes and the final threesomes to tee off had played just two when play was suspended at 6:02 p.m. local (8:02 ET).
Mindful of a similar situation on Friday morning after overnight temperatures that are expected to dip into the mid-20s, tournament officials opted to resume the first round at 9:30 a.m. MT (11:30 ET). That’s nearly two hours later than Thursday’s first tee times.
Once the first round has been completed, the second round will resume as quickly as possible so there will be a very short turnaround for some players. And the possibility exists that some of the players who managed to complete the first round on Thursday might not play at all on Friday. Particularly if Mother Nature intervenes again.
“It’s going to be unique,” Lehman said. “If there’s any kind of a delay tomorrow, I would have to bet that we’re not going to play tomorrow. I just don’t see how it could possibly happen. You never know, but the odds are against us so it’s kind of strange to have a big gap in the middle of a tournament like that.
“So you have to kind of find a way to stay in the rhythm of the tournament I suppose, maybe come back down for a few hours and practice, maybe go play nine holes somewhere else. But it’s unique. But of course this weather is unique. This is really unheard of to be clear and this cold for two straight days like this.” — Helen Ross
Good for Tom.