Par gone with the wind |

Par gone with the wind

As brutal as the conditions were, they could have been worse – it could have been snowing.

Persistent gale-force winds turned the second round of the American Century Golf Championship into a game of survival on Saturday at Edgewood.

Celebrities complained of nearly being knocked over, leaders’ names were blown off the leader board and no hat was secure enough on the head as winds consistently exceeded the 40-mph barrier.

“I was so happy to get back to Minnesota, thinking that I escaped the wind, and this is making the wind in Texas look still,” said Brett Hull, whose overtime goal gave the Dallas Stars their first Stanley Cup against Buffalo last month.

Other players were just as descriptive.

“It was all about surviving. I almost fell over on the fifth tee,” said Pierre Larouche, who responded with a 2-over-par 74 to remain one shot behind second-round leader Rick Rhoden.

“Putting was difficult, and there wasn’t a shot that you hit during the whole day that you felt comfortable over,” said first-round leader Mark Rypien.

“It was one of those days you had to fight through.”

Rhoden, who made only one birdie and two bogeys, was focused on simply making pars.

“Your good shots could end up as bad shots, and basically, there was no telling where your bad shots would wind up,” said Rhoden, who regularly plays in gusty wind near his home in Ormond Beach, Fla. “Par is good when the wind is blowing like this.”

Perennial contender Dick Anderson, who fell out of contention with an abysmal opening-round 81, actually improved during the demanding second round. His second-round 77 was pleasing under the circumstances.

“We played in a tournament once in Maryland that had wind like this, but this is a challenge. You get over some shots and you can’t even stand up,” said Anderson, the 1994 champion.

“We’re not pro golfers. For the most part we’re trying to hit the ball the same every time. If Rick keeps it under par he really is a hell of a player. And he is anyway.”

Some of the casualties were Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, whose consistent scores of 10 resulted in the worst round in tournament history – a 51-over-par 123; former Senior PGA Tour winner John Brodie four-putted from 15 feet; and John Elway watched his title chances blow away as he shot his worst round since the tournament’s debut in 1990 – an 81.

“I’ve never played in anything like this,” said Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. “It gets windy in Florida, but nothing like this. I hit it good most of the day, but the putting is so hard.”

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