Graeme McDowell bounced back with a fine closing 69 before the Arnold Palmer Invitational headed for a Monday finish due to severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning.
But while Tiger Woods, who led by three shots after two holes, will have to wait to try and reclaim the world No 1 ranking from Rory McIlroy, there was no mercy for the field in the RaboDirect Hilary outing at Baltray.
On one of coldest and windiest golfing days experienced in many years (according to the oranisers) The Island’s Niall Worth unleashed a storm of his own by finishing with three closing birdies to win the top prize with a nett 77.
A student at the Darren Clarke Academy, Worth showed great patience after an outward half of six over par.
Further bogeys at the difficult par four 11th, which required three well-struck wood shots to reach the green, and 13th holes, left The Island man well outside the prizes.
But consecutive birdies at the three finishing holes enabled him to take the honours on countback from Roganstown’s Ryan Callan who was left to rue a three-putt bogey on the 18th when a par would have proved enough to hold off a field decimated by the severe conditions.
The Castle’s John Williams had a very respectable round of eight over par 80 to capture the gross prize as
his mid-round blemish of back to back double bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes was offset by a strong finish of five pars and a lone birdie at the par-four 16th hole.
Long-time clubhouse leader, Chris Broe from Beech Park, finished third despite dropping four shots in the final six holes.
Team specialist Lloyd O’Rourke combined with Broe and Carton House professional Tony O’Regan to produce his third team win of the season with a splendid score of 67.
The next event will take place in The Royal Dublin on Sunday, April 7th next when all will be hoping for much kinder weather. (Results below)
As for Bay Hill, Woods birdied the par-three second to extend his lead to three shots before a succession of severe thunderstorms with winds as high as 60 mph swept through the area, setting off a torando warning and dumping 1 1/2 inches of rain on the course.
According to the PGA Tour’s Brian Wacker:
“Fifteen minutes (after Woods birdied the second) torrential rain, thunder and lightning hammered the region. Lawn chairs lining the 18th hole were blown over, a TV tower behind the 10th green was knocked down and even a fish could be seen in a fairway.
“At least we got a little activity in today, so we’re not completely stagnant,” Woods said. “We’ve dealt with this before.”
At one point, the media center, which is located in a large tent located across the street from the clubhouse, was evacuated due to a tornado warning. Members of the media went scurrying through the downpour and into the clubhouse, where they huddled in darkness with players, caddies and other officials to wait for power to be restored and the worst of the storn to pass.
Once it did, everyone dispersed. Just after 4 p.m., the decision was made to suspend play for the day.”
RaboDirect Hilary Golf Society, County Louth, March 24
First - N Worth (1) The Island 77
Second - R Callan (4) Roganstown 77
Gross - J Williams (Castle) 80
Third - C Broe (6) Beech Park 77
Team - L O’Rourke, C Broe, T O’Regan 67
77 N Worth (1) The Island, R Callan (4) Roganstown, C Broe (6) Beech Park;
79 G Fitzpatrick (4) Naas, J P Kelly (6) Carton House, J Williams (1) Castle;
81 F Kennedy (3) The Island
82 R Richardson (1) The Island, D Moran (1) The Island, S Williams (5) Castle, J Hutchinson (5) Royal Dublin;
83 J McCarthy (2) Forrest Little, D Brabazon (4) Balbriggan, P Behan(2) St Annes, B McSweeney (Scr) Royal Dublin, P Higgins (6) Corrstown, R J Browne (Scr) Laytown & Bettystown, C O’Donovan (6) Royal Dublin;
84 E McCartan (2) Greenore, B Morris (6) Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, A Montgomery (3) The Island, D Downie (Scr) Sutton;
85 J Keogh (6) Beech Park, L O’Rourke (4) Carton House, M Brennan (5) Clontarf;
86 D Cribbin (1) Co Meath, M Chambers (6) Royal Dublin;
87 E O’Hehir (4) Naas, P O’Connor (2) Malahide, D Curran (6) St Annes, M Richards (Scr) Roganstown, L Hutchinson (1) Royal Dublin;
89 A Dowling (Scr) Hermitage
No Returns - Multiple competitors
NEXT OUTING, Royal Dublin, Sunday, April 7th