ATLANTA — The dangerous combination of golf and lightning played out vividly Saturday afternoon, as the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake was abruptly halted following a strike that left six spectators injured.
According to tournament officials, none of the injuries were considered life-threatening, most resulting from falling debris from a tree that was struck near the fan pavilion and hospitality buildings behind and beyond the 15th green.
The third round is scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. Sunday, with Justin Thomas in the lead at 12 under through five holes. Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are a stroke back. The fourth round will begin shortly after the third is completed and the field is re-paired according to their place on the leaderboard.
Saturday play was suspended at 4:17 p.m. as the storm approached, and the players were all shuttled back to the East Lake clubhouse. Spectators were advised to seek shelter or leave the course. Then 28 minutes later, a loud boom sounded throughout the property, signifying a pair of lightning strikes, one near a maintenance area beyond the seventh hole, another hitting a large pine tree near the hospitality complex behind the 15th green.
Asked about the PGA Tour’s protocol when storms arise at a tournament, Mark Russell, the vice president of rules and competition said, “We suspend play and we put on the scoreboards that weather is approaching and we want the people to take shelter and leave. But a lot of times they don’t.”
The Weather Channel’s forecast for Atlanta on Sunday is for a 40% chance of morning showers, decreasing to 20% in the afternoon.
Ko, Broch Larsen lead CP Women’s Open
AURORA, Ontario — Top-ranked Jin Young Ko shot a 7-under 65 to grab a share of the lead heading into the final round of the CP Women’s Open.
Ko is tied with Nicole Broch Larsen at 18 under at Magna Golf Club. Defending champion Brooke Henderson is another two shots back in third.
Henderson also shot a 65 in the third round, matching Ko for low round of the day. Broch Larsen posted her third straight 66.
Couples builds 5-shot lead at Boeing Classic
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Fred Couples made a hole-in-one in a round of 9-under 63 and built a five-shot lead after three rounds of the Boeing Classic, his hometown tournament that he is trying to win for the first time.
Couples made the ace on No. 9, using a 4 iron on the 203-yard hole. It was the highlight of another solid day from the Seattle native.
David Toms rebounded from a first-round 70 with a 9-under 63, and was tied for second at 11 under with Paul Broadhurst, who followed an opening 66 with a 67. Bernhard Langer (68), Ken Duke (66) and Stephen Leaney (68) are another stroke back at 10 under.
Couples shot a 7-under 65 in the first round at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. The hole-in-one jump-started his round on Saturday as he went on to birdie five of the next six holes. Couples closed out the round with a birdie at the 18th for a 30 on the back nine.