Weather playing havoc with RTO
August 20, 2004
RENO – The weather has played havoc with the sixth annual Reno-Tahoe Open’s schedule the last two days, but Mark Russell, PGA tournament director, thinks that the tournament can finish on schedule if there are no more major delays.
Thunder and lightning forced delays totaling more than four hours on Thursday, and there was a 3-hour 25-minute delay Friday. Afternoon thunderstorms are expected today with a high of 85 degrees.
“We’ll play golf all day today, and try to get back (on schedule) tomorrow,” Russell said. “We’ll play Monday if we need to. Regulations say 72 holes. We’re going to do everything we can to play 72 even if we have to play 36 on Monday.
“We can easily play in the rain, but lightning is the problem. We couldn’t take a chance. It’s extremely difficult to predict up in the mountains. It comes so quick on these mountains. We had a situation where we could see it forming on radar.”
Players are driven off the course in carts or vans. Unfortunately, the fans are left to fend for themselves, and there aren’t many places at Montreux to get out of inclimate weather.
“We try to give them enough time to find shelter,” Russell said. “That’s our main concern. That’s why we flash the sign (on the scoreboard).”
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Russell also said that keeping the players around on Tuesday was a possibility to get the 72 holes in.
Russell said the course was in great shape, and that the afternoon rain was soaked up nicely.
Reno resident Scott McCarron, who practices and plays at Montreux when he’s not on tour, said there isn’t any pressure playing in front of family and friends.
“I think it’s good,” he said. “If they weren’t here, there would be nobody in the gallery. We need the support (from fans) to keep this going.”
Last year, McCarron hosted a huge party early in the week for the RTO players. This year, he’s hosted a few smaller dinners.
At one point, Mark Calcavecchia was the leader at 7-under par, but four straight bogeys on the front side propelled him to a second-round 77, and a victim of the 36-hole cut.
The toughest hole in the second round was No. 10, a 491-yard par-4, which played to a 4.358, and the second-toughest was No. 8, a par-4 464 yard hole which played to a 4.323. The easiest hole was the 518-yard par-5 fourth, which played to a 4.627. The 17th, a par-5 636-yard hole, played to a 4.631…. Kelly Gibson birdied six straight holes at one point, finishing with a 70. His 147, however, isn’t expected to make the cut… First-round leader Roland Thatcher played only two holes before play was stopped, and he was even par, leaving him at 6-under.