Gainey, Wilson lead WMPO; more delays loom
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – At the frosty Phoenix Open, it was fitting that a guy called “Tommy Two Gloves” had a share of the lead.
Not that Tommy Gainey thinks the extra glove really helps in cold conditions.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s an advantage when it’s real cold, and I’ll tell you why, because when the temperature started dropping, I mean, my hands, even though I had the gloves on, they were still freezing,” Gainey said. “I didn’t have much feel in my hands at that time. Wearing a glove or not, it’s still freezing, and your hands are feeling kind of numb. And that’s the way my hands were feeling, kind of numb.”
Meet Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey
• Read Jeff Babineau's 2008 profile of WMPO leader Tommy Gainey by clicking here.
Gainey and Mark Wilson reached 11 under Friday before second-round play was suspended because of darkness in the frost-delayed tournament that will finish Monday.
Photos: Waste Management Phoenix Open
Photos from the frosty Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Wilson played 14 holes in the second round, and Gainey finished nine.
Frost delayed play until just after 11 a.m. – 94 minutes after the scheduled start that was already nearly two hours later than normal. Only half the field finished the first round Thursday after a four-hour morning delay.
The delays – costing a total of 7 hours, 24 minutes of playing time – pushed more than half of the second round to Saturday. In announcing the Monday finish, PGA Tour officials said the cut will remain at the top 70 and ties.
“In a perfect world, probably finish Monday, maybe four or five holes, best-case scenario,” said Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules. “So much depends on tomorrow morning and Sunday morning. ... It’s unbelievable how frozen these greens get and they just don’t thaw out.”
On the sunny day, the temperature was 42 when play started, reached 52 and was 48 when play was suspended a little after 6 p.m. If the players started a hole before the suspension, they had the option of finishing it.
Only six players finished the second round and 64 – the entire early wave from the first round – didn’t get on the course Friday.
The temperature was expected to fall into the mid 30s overnight, cold enough to force another frost delay. It is supposed to be warmer the next three days, with highs of 65 Saturday, 68 Sunday and 73 Monday.
Gainey, a two-time winner last year on the Nationwide Tour, birdied six of the final eight holes to take the first-round lead at 8-under 63, then had four birdies and a bogey on the first nine holes in the second round.
The 63 was his lowest score on the PGA Tour after missing the cut in his first three events this season. The round also was his first in the 60s this year.
“I’ve played absolutely terrible,” Gainey said. “Right now, I’m starting to hit the ball like I’m supposed to. I’m starting to score. Putts are dropping ... Once the putts start falling, you can shoot an unbelievable low number. It just so happens that I’m making putts right now and I’m tied for the lead.”
Wilson opened with a 65 and was 5 under for 14 holes in the second round. He won the Sony Open in Hawaii last month in a 36-hole Sunday finish for his third tour title.
“We’re just going to ride this train as long as I can,” he said.
Geoff Ogilvy was third at 9 under with two holes left. He’s making his first start of the year after gouging his right index finger on a coral reef in Hawaii before the Tournament of Champions. He needed 12 stitches to repair the cut.
Phil Mickelson, on the leaderboard Thursday after a 67, didn’t start the second round.
The weather has hurt attendance, with an estimated 74,723 fans attending Friday – down from 101,709 last year. Only 38,323 showed up Thursday, down from 69,475 in 2010.
Admission will be free Monday.