Sutton storming home

Lightning storm forces Woods and Sutton to halt the duel

Martin
Mon, 27 Mar 2000

Sutton storming home

Tiger Woods will feel the luckier of the two leading players at Sawgrass when a lightning storm suspended play at The Player's Championships at Sawgrass yesterday.

Woods was three shots behind the fearless Sutton when the horn sounded at the 12th hole and couldn't buy a putt after his first birdie of the day at the opening hole.

The remaining players will come back today at around 2p.m GMT to slog it out over the last six and a half holes.

Sutton was hoping to finish the job Sunday at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass until Mother Nature intervened. Maybe Tiger Woods has more influence than we thought.

"Well, obviously I would have liked to have kept playing," said Sutton. "Dangerous situation. I like living better than I do finishing the golf tournament."

After Woods caught him with a first-hole birdie, Sutton took control of his game and the final round. At the par-3 eighth hole, Sutton pulled his drive into the left bunker and drew an awkward lie near the back lip. With both feet out of the bunker, he blasted to within 10 feet, then made the putt for a par and pumped his right fist a la Woods and gave Tiger some of his own medicine.

"I couldn't have dreamed it any closer than that," Sutton said of the great escape. "That was real big."

An outrageous birdie followed at the 11th for Sutton. Woods usually plays the par-5s like he owns them, mainly because he can reach most in two with mid-irons. Desperately needing a birdie, Woods missed the green but pitched to within 6 feet and looked certain to convert. But Sutton beat him to it. After coming up short in two, he faced a tricky uphill chip from thick rough over a steep swale, but purposely left it short, fearful of carrying the ball over the green into the back bunker. Sutton looked like a genius when he holed the treacherous 25-foot putt and Woods missed, pumping his fist once again.

And Colin Montgomerie is not out of the running yet. If the big Scot can hole a few more putts, he could be in contention if the leaders make the slightest of slips. Monty lies at 5-under par and in sole third place, with the back five hole to play. An Eagle and a couple of birdies could yet see him nick the event in a playoff. But his putter has been stone cold all week. Maybe he is waiting for The Masters before he brings his Ryder Cup putting stroke out on tour!