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Storms bring down trees, bring play to halt at the Masters

Two towering pine trees fell near patrons as storms rolled through Augusta National on Friday, and another tree fell elsewhere on the property, though nobody was injured as the second round of the Masters ground to a halt.

The storms had been expected throughout the day, and tournament officials moved all starting times up 30 minutes in the hopes of getting the second round in as scheduled. The morning dawned hot and humid, with plenty of sun, but it gave way to ominous clouds churning through from the east shortly after the lunch hour.

The course had already been cleared once for 21 minutes when the first band of storms passed through the area. The air horn sounded again at 4:22 p.m. as another set of storms arrived, bringing heavy rains and the threat of lightning.

About the time the horns sounded, two enormous pines fell near the 17th tee box, sending the patrons in the area scattering for cover. On the nearby 16th green, Sergio Garcia stopped and stared at what seemed to be happening in slow motion, and playing partners Kazuki Higa and Keith Mitchell watched anxiously to see if anyone was hurt.

Workers quickly arrived with chainsaws to begin clearing the fallen trees.

Brooks Koepka was the leader at 12 under when play stopped, taking advantage of fortuitous tee times that left him in the clubhouse long before the storms arrived. Jon Rahm was three shots back in second but had nine holes still to play.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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