A storm packing 50-mile-per-hour gusts toppled two TV towers, uprooted 17 young palm trees, and sent the monster scoreboard at the 18th hole crashing to the ground yesterday in Doral, Fla.
When the Cadillac Championship resumed, 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 just 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 par.
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 and Phil Mickelson scrapped their way around Doral, while US Open champion Graeme McDowell kept up with his great short game.
Mickelson made a birdie late in his round and was at 2 under through 15 holes, one shot ahead of Woods and McDowell.
The other featured group — the top three players in the world rankings — lived up to its billing. Martin Kaymer, in his second week at No. 1, opened with three straight birdies and was 5 under through 10 holes. 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.
At 7 under, Mahan was two shots clear of Charley Hoffman, who had a 5-under 67 and was among nine players in the 66-man field who were able to finish the round.
Among those at 5 under with still more golf to play in the first round were 19-year-old Ryo Ishikawa of Japan and Vijay Singh.
PGA — James Driscoll of Brookline shot a 9-under 63 to lead the Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande, missing a chance to break 60 when he played the final four holes in 2 over.
Driscoll had 10 birdies in a 12-hole stretch from No. 12 to No. 3 and ended up with a two-shot lead over Will MacKenzie.