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Threat of tornadoes halts play at NCAAs

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By RON BALICKI
Senior Writer

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A number of teams are going to have to wait another day to find out if they’re going to play the final round of this NCAA Division I Men’s Championship.

Play was suspended at 5:55 p.m. Friday because of the threat of tornadoes and near golf ball-size hail, and eventually halted for the day. It was the second delay during the afternoon wave of the third round.

The top 15 teams after two rounds finished their play in the morning wave, but the remaining 15 teams had to be pulled from the course due to the weather. Players had anywhere from one to nine holes left in their third round.

The field will be cut to the low 15 teams and low six individuals who are not members of those teams after 54 holes.

Those in the afternoon wave will return to the Kampen Course at Purdue’s Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex Saturday morning to complete their third round. Once those making the cut is determined, pairing will be made and the final round will get underway as soon as possible.

“We’ll bring everyone out to start at 7 a.m. and hopefully start the final round around 11,” said Oklahoma State athletics director Mike Holder, chairman of the NCAA Golf Committee. “If there are playoffs we probably won’t make that. We also had a lot of rain, so we’re just going to have to see if we can get started by 7.”

Play Friday was first stopped at 4:15 p.m. when lightning was detected in the area. Play resumed at 4:55 p.m., but players were evacuated an hour later because of the tornado threat.

Players, coaches and many others left for safety in the basement of Mackey Area, Purdue’s basketball facility.

When play stopped, Louisville was tied for 10th at 39 over par through 15-17 holes, while San Diego State was 12th at 40 over through holes 13-17.

Texas A&M, which played in the morning, was tied for the precious 14th spot at 45 over with Auburn, which had completed holes 15-17.

Texas was 16th at 48 over and had just made the turn, while UC Irvine, through holes 11-14, and Middle Tennessee State, a morning wave participant, were at 49 over.

Five teams were at 50-to-54 over, with three of those still on the course.

The top nine teams – UCLA (888), USC and Clemson (891), Stanford (893), Oklahoma State (895), Florida (899), Kent State (900), Georgia (901) an Washington (902) – after the morning wave are secure to play the final round. So too is Alabama, which is tied for 10th at 903 and 13th-place Charlotte (908).

• • •

Ron Balicki is a Golfweek senior writer. To reach him e-mail rbalicki@golfweek.com.

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