Golf

Published: Sunday February 9, 2014 MYT 5:32:02 AM
Updated: Sunday February 9, 2014 MYT 5:32:10 AM

Strong winds halt play at Pebble Beach

(Reuters) - Strong winds halted play early in the third round at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Saturday, with second-round leader Jimmy Walker leading by two strokes.

Fellow Americans Jordan Spieth and Hunter Mahan were tied for second, one shot ahead of Richard Lee on California's Monterey Peninsula.

When several balls moved after being marked by players on some of the more exposed greens at Pebble Beach, officials had little choice but to stop play.

Gusts of nearly 40 mph (64 kph) were recorded and officials began watering some of the greens in an effort to again make them playable.

The PGA Tour event is played on three courses on California's Monterey Peninsula, with Pebble Beach the most exposed.

Rules official Mark Russell said the wind had caused similar problems at Monterey Peninsula, but not at Spyglass Hill, and that it was hoped that play would be resumed on Saturday.

Walker, who was tied with Spieth after the second round, picked up one stroke to par in five holes at Monterey Peninsula to take the sole lead at 10-under when play was halted.

He led Spieth, who had played two holes, and compatriot Hunter Mahan, through six, by two shots.

Ruled out of contention was American D.A. Points, who was disqualified for an unusual rules violation.

While waiting on the 18th tee during Friday's second round, Points made a few practice swings with a green sponge ball under his right armpit.

Using the ball during a round contravenes rule 14-3, which states a player may not use "any artificial device or unusual equipment."

The violation, which was captured on TV, was not brought to the attention of officials until after Points had signed his card, so he therefore was disqualified.

"We were standing on the tee; it's cold, it's raining," Points told GolfChannel.com.

"I pull out the ball and make some dry practice swings, just trying to loosen up. I come to find out it's an unusual training device, something you wouldn't have in your bag."

Points, who signed for a one-under-par 36-hole score, was allowed to continue playing in the pro-am section of the tournament with his partner, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

(Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)

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