Rain continues to soak players and spectators at the Players Championship on Friday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
March 11 (UPI) -- Play was suspended again at The Players Championship on Friday due to heavy rain and won't resume until at least 11 a.m. EST Saturday, the PGA Tour said.
The opening round was halted for more than four hours Thursday, and the last group of golfers to tee off in the afternoon wave had finished just 11 or 12 of their first 18 holes when play was delayed again after only four hours of play Friday.
Only 24 of the late starters were able to finish the first round, while 48 players still had holes remaining.
Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge had the clubhouse lead at 6-under 66 after managing to complete their first 18 holes Thursday. Brice Garnett also was at 6-under par, but he was only through his first 13 holes.
Potential severe thunderstorms were forecast through Saturday morning at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with wind gusts as high as 25 mph expected overnight.
The inclement weather was expected to clear the area by Saturday afternoon, with sustained winds of 20-30 mph. Clear skies are expected Sunday and Monday at the tournament.
PGA Tour chief referee Gary Young, in providing an update on the tournament in a news conference Friday afternoon at Sawgrass, said it was possible the final round could be delayed until Monday if play didn't resume Friday.
"I would say, if we do not get back out on the golf course by the end of the day, then we are into that situation," Young said, when asked about a Monday finish. "We've been crunching some numbers, and yes, we are coming close to that point now.
"We've received about 2 1/2 inches of rain at this point in the last 24 hours. The golf course has reached a point where it's unplayable, and we will ride this out as long as we can this afternoon."
Thursday's first-round tee times were pushed back, before an additional one-hour stoppage later in the round. A final stoppage was enforced due to darkness. Just 60 of the tournament's 72 groups teed off Thursday.
The round resumed at 7:15 a.m. EST Friday, but was again suspended for what the Tour called "unplayable golf course conditions."
The Players Championship hasn't had a Monday finish since 2005.
The Players Championship airs on NBC and Golf Channel. Reigning champion No. 8 Justin Thomas, No. 2 Collin Morikawa, No. 1 Jon Rahm, No. 6 Rory McIlroy, No. 3 Viktor Hovland, No. 4 Patrick Cantlay, No. 5 Scottie Scheffler, No. 7 Xander Schauffele, No. 9 Dustin Johnson and No. 20 Daniel Berger entered the week as tournament favorites.
The tournament features a $20 million prize purse, with $3.6 million for the first-place finisher.
Cameron Smith of Australia holds the Gold Man Players Championship trophy after winning the championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., on March 14, 2022. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo