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March 25, 2013

Thunder slows Tiger’s push

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods is going to have to wait one more day to try to reclaim No. 1 in the world.

Moments after Woods made a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole, a vicious thunderstorm packing gusts that topped out at 62 mph interrupted the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and wiped out play until Monday.

The storm dumped nearly 1 1/2 inches on Bay Hill and formed small ponds in the fairways — there was even a fish in the middle of the 18th fairway. The wind toppled the TV tower behind the 10th green, which was a pile of metal poles, wood, mesh netting and had a stationary camera in the middle of it all.

About an hour after a tornado warning expired, officials said they would need time to clean up the course and let it drain. The final round was to resume at 10 a.m. Monday.

Woods is going after his eighth win at Bay Hill, which would return him to No. 1 in the world ranking for the first time since the last week of October in 2010.

He hit all of six shots on Sunday, enough to build a three-shot lead over Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, John Huh and Ken Duke.

“At least we got a little activity in today, so we’re not completely stagnant,” Woods said before leaving. “We’ve dealt with this before.”

There was plenty of action on a short day, none more bizarre than Sergio Garcia.

The Spaniard’s tee shot on the 10th hole somehow came to rest about 15 feet up in an oak tree, sitting between two large branches. Garcia used a cart to jump into the tree, and after a few minutes, hit a one-handed, back-handed shot back to the fairway, before jumping some 8 feet back to the ground.

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