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Snowstorm suspends opening day of Match Play in Arizona

February 21, 2013 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
Snow covers a practice putting green in Arizona on the opening day of the Match Play Championships
Snow covers a practice putting green in Arizona on the opening day of the Match Play Championships
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Opening day of Match Play Championships suspended by snowstorm
  • Caddies take to throwing snowballs as play is called off

(CNN) -- Players reacted with a mix of bemusement and amusement as the opening day of the Accenture World Match Play in Arizona was suspended by heavy snow.

The Dove Mountain course in Marana was able to host just over three-and-a-half hours of golf before the bitterly cold conditions took control of a region known for its desert climate.

"This weather is officially ridiculous!" tweeted World no. 1 Rory McIlroy who, like Tiger Woods, was among those who had yet to start their first round matches.

Spain's Sergio Garcia was the closest player to victory, two up against Thongchai Jaidee on the 16th and with a possible putt to win the match upon his return.

Ian Poulter was also looking good for victory, 3 up on Stephen Gallacher with 12 holes played, before he was forced off course.

"The caddies have officially just had a snow ball fight," the Englishman tweeted. "Never seen anything like it."

Play was suspended at 11.07 local time because of the driving rain and snow, with ice beginning to form on the greens.

Only 10 of the 64 first-round matches had yet to tee off when the snowstorm struck.

Defending champion Hunter Mahan was 4-up on Italy's Matteo Manassero after nine holes.

Organizers hope to restart play on Thursday, with fans who missed out on seeing Wednesday's action having been told they can attend for no extra cost on Sunday.

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