A storm packing 50 mph gusts toppled two TV towers, uprooted 17 palms and sent the monster scoreboard at the 18th hole crashing to the ground Thursday at Doral.
When the Cadillac Championship resumed in Miami, Hunter Mahan and most of the world’s best players tore up the golf course.
The raging wind was replaced by an eerie calm that lasted long enough to take aim at the Blue Monster. Mahan birdied his opening four holes and kept right on rolling until the opening round was suspended by darkness.
He didn’t miss a green, didn’t come close to a bogey in his 11 holes and was atop the leaderboard at 7-under.
“I guess with that storm, it brought some tranquility to the golf course,” Mahan said.
There were plenty of low scores – but not from Tiger Woods.
In the group that generated most of the buzz and attracted the largest crowd, Woods (1 under) and Phil Mickelson (2 under) scrapped their way around Doral, while U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (1 under) used his short game to keep pace.
The other featured group – the top three players in the world ranking – lived up to their billing. Martin Kaymer, in his second week as No. 1, opened with three straight birdies and was 5 under through 10 holes. World Match Play winner Luke Donald (No. 3) birdied the 10th hole to join him at 5 under, while Lee Westwood (No. 2) was at 4 under.
“I had a fantastic start,” Kaymer said.
Mahan went out in 30 on the back nine, which included birdie putts of 35 and 40 feet.
At 7 under, he was two shots ahead of Charley Hoffman, who had a 5-under 67 and was one of nine players in the 66-man field able to finish the round.
DRISCOLL SHOOTS 63
James Driscoll shot a 9-under 63 in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open, missing a shot at 59 when he played the final four holes in 2 over.
Driscoll eagled the par-5 fifth – his 14th hole of the day – to reach 11 under, but bogeyed the par-4 seventh and par-3 eighth at Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.