Crews scramble to clear Waialae for Sony

Grounds crew personnel pumps water from the 10th hole after heavy rains forced the cancellation of the first round of the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.

HONOLULU – The remnants of the weather continued to plague the Sony Open on Friday, with water prominently sitting in the rough and bunkers at waterlogged Waialae Country Club.

With the grounds crew working at a fever pitch, they could not completely keep up with the 3-plus inches of water that has fallen since the pro-am was canceled on Wednesday.

With the first group of Steve Flesch, Joe Durant and Shane Bertsch on the 16th hole, seven members of the grounds crew were bailing water with 5-gallon buckets out of the first and second bunkers at the elbow of the par-5, 18th hole.

Eventually, two PGA Tour rules officials and five more members of the grounds crew arrived with a portable pump to try to speed up the removal of water out of the middle bunker.

“The players are on the 17th hole,” an official said. At that point, the workers cleaned up the area as well as possible and planned to continue bailing between groups.

The middle bunker still had the pump in place because of the high tide that hit its zenith at 9:15 a.m.

“If we didn’t keep the pump in place, the water would fill up the bunker,” PGA Tour rules official John Lilvis said of the water from high tide. “The water is flowing at a gallon a minute.”

From a rules standpoint, if a player landed in the bunker, he could get relief in a limited circumstance around the pump area, with it considered ground under repair, but not total relief from the bunker.

If no more rain falls, the tournament, which will be cut to the lowest 60 on Sunday, could complete the third and fourth rounds. But with any more rain – which is what the forecast is calling for – the Sony Open likely would move into Monday or be called after 54 holes. The forecasts predict rain on Monday and Tuesday, as well.

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