By Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
Strong afternoon winds in Hurricane, Utah force tournament officials to suspend play, pulling nearly half the field off the golf course.
Hurricane, Utah – While the Sand Hollow Leavitt Group Open opening round leaderboard shows Zahkai Brown, Jake Sarnoff and Tom Whitney tied at the top with rounds of 2-under 70, it was the infamous winds of Hurricane, Utah that won the day.
With nearly half of the field still on the golf course, tournament rules officials made the suspension of play due to excessive winds decision at 4:24 p.m. this afternoon. With wind gusts bending flagsticks to nearly 45 degrees, many players were having difficulty marking their golf balls on the putting surface as they oscillated.
Drawing an early tee time, this year’s Siegfried and Jensen Utah Open low professional Zahkai Brown got around the Championship Course at Sand Hollow Resort with five birdies on the day against three bogeys.
“I played pretty solid in this wind condition, which is nice, but I made a few dumb errors that kept from being three or four under. Really anything under par was going to be great today. I tried to ride the wind a lot which is hard to do since you kind of have to aim out into the desert, I was just trying to let the wind do it. If you get out here and you try and control the wind, like hit a draw into the wind, you’ll get a gust and end up in the stuff,” said the Colorado native.” “Bogeys on nine and 18 were dumb mistakes and hurt a little.”
Sarnoff, who Monday qualified for the Web.Com Tour’s Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club said conditions called for some different strategy in his play, “I played pretty conservatively today and just tried not to make too many mistakes. My putting within 10-feet was dead on the whole day so I made probably three or four par-saves from six to eight feet on the backside to keep my round going.”
The player from California was attracted to the 4th annual Sand Hollow Leavitt Group Open for multiple reasons, “The exemption for the winner into next year’s Web.Com Tour Utah Championship is pretty nice, the purse is good and is good practice for the upcoming Web.Com Tour Q-school,” Sarnoff said. “I go to Dayton Valley in a couple of weeks so I wanted to come out here and play, which is a lot better than playing mini tour events of 20 or 30 guys in California. It’s a good strong field here.”
Players not completing their opening rounds will begin play, where they left off, Friday morning in an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start. Round two tee times have been posted online: http://tpp.ghin.com/Club/Scoring/Default.aspx?id=208933 and will begin at 8:00 a.m. off the first tee of the Championship Course.
The 4th annual, 54-hole Sand Hollow Leavitt Group Open offers an exemption into the 2018 Web.Com Tour Utah Championship and a first-place check of $12,000 to its winner.
Photo Credit: Fairways Media file photo/Randy Dodson
Photo Caption: Zahkai Brown, low professional of the Siegfried and Jensen Utah Open leads with two others at wind-suspended opening round of the Sand Hollow Leavitt Group Open at Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane, Utah.