Monday finish as winds disrupt Open

144th Open Championship - Day TwoThe last time an Open Championship finished on a Monday was when Seve Ballesteros won in 1988 at Royal Lytham. And when he did that, he became the only player to win The Open on a Saturday, a Sunday and a Monday.

Play ended on a Saturday in 1979 when the late Spaniard won his first Claret Jug. The Saturday finish was a throwback to the days when club professionals needed to get back to club members on Sundays. The 1979 Open was the last Saturday finish. He took his 1980 title on a Sunday.

There will be a Monday winner again after the weekend – if the high winds which have been buffeting the Old Course at St Andrews abate enough for the second round to be completed on Saturday, the cut to be made and the third round to be completed on Sunday.

And then, if the weather co-operates for another few hours, there should be a winner on Monday at about 4pm local time – if the winds do not return by then. That’s a possibility which is in the forecast, and the locals take weather forecasting very seriously.

144th Open Championship - Day TwoLouis Oosthuizen (picking up his ball with Tiger Woods here as play is suspended), only two shots off the lead, got one of the worst breaks in the weather. He was facing a three-foot par putt when a gust of wind moved his ball about a foot from the hole, then about six feet past the cup.

After that, play was suspended at 7:32am local time – only 32 minutes after the second round resumed – after 65 kilometres per hour gusts made the course unplayable. Thirty-nine players have yet to complete two rounds, and the final group still has 10 holes to play.

Significant flooding suspended play Friday at St Andrews, when the second round was delayed by more than three hours as the maintenance staff squeegeed the greens and pumped standing water out of the fairways.

There was talk of a two-tee start to try to complete as much play as possible. The R&A took a lot of criticism last year for instituting a two-tee start for the third round at Royal Liverpool. A severe-weather warning forced the R&A to put players out earlier in three-balls off the first and 10th tees.

The decision was vindicated when torrential rain pelted Hoylake shortly after play ended.

On Friday, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson ruled out a similar two-tee start this year, despite time already lost.

“We’ve only done it once, at Hoylake,” Dawson said to television broadcasters. “The prospect of changing it during competition and doing a two-tee start is not something we’re going to do. The order of play of holes on a links course is very important.”

 

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