Brandon Hagy and Chad Ramey avoided the worst of the wind on Thursday, each shooting six-under 65s to share the lead in the Bermuda Championship.
The opening round at Port Royal was halted by darkness but for those who started in the morning, it might have been easier playing in the dark.
The wind and spots of heavy rain were so fierce that play was suspended briefly in the morning. And while it eased slightly in the afternoon, the gusts were strong enough that short putts were nervy and judging the distance on approach shots was key.
Ramey managed to finish off a bogey-free round right before play was halted. Hagy made nine birdies to offset his bogeys, one of which was a two-foot par putt he missed on the par-5 seventh hole. There was not much he could about it – that was largely due to a gust.
Vincent Whaley had a 66, while Palmetto Championship winner Garrick Higgo, Seamus Power of Ireland and Danny Lee were among those at 67.
"We were down on the ground holding an umbrella. My fingers were cramping I'm holding on so tight, and it was pouring rain as hard as it's ever rained." - Russel Knox.
The group at 68 included Patrick Reed, at No.24 the highest-ranked player in the field. He opened with three straight birdies only to give most of it back with a double bogey.
This was a day for flighting the ball, such as the chip eight-iron from 118 yards. For so much of the day, the actual yardage was irrelevant.
Reed was coming off a bogey on the 16th when he drove into a hazard on the par-5 17th. He took a penalty drop, and then hit 6-iron that plopped down near the hole and dropped for a most unusual eagle.
His playing partners, Higgo and Willett, all drove into the hazard on the 17th and they managed to collectively play the hole in three-under.
When play was stopped, 33 players were under par, some having to return Friday morning to complete the first round. Only six of those scores under par came from the morning.
One of the players to be under par was Australia's Lucas Herbert. The 25-year-old from Victoria shot a one-under 70 that included three birdies and two bogeys.
Russell Knox, who grew up near Inverness in Scotland, was among the early starters and had few complaints with a 72. He was happy to be standing up.
"We were down on the ground holding an umbrella. My fingers were cramping I'm holding on so tight, and it was pouring rain as hard as it's ever rained," he said. "It was an interesting day."
It's already been a week like no other at the Bermuda Championship, which is offering full FedExCup points because it is not opposite the World Golf Championship in Shanghai, cancelled for the second straight year because of the pandemic.
That means the winner gets into the Masters, and only four players in the field already are eligible for Augusta National in April.