Rain-hit Singapore Open slashed to 54 holes
12 Nov 2011 - 11:16:54
Lightning storms and heavy rain washed out play at the US$6 million Barclays Singapore Open Saturday in a blow for fans and organisers of the event, which is facing strong regional competition.
Play was suspended at 11:50 am (0350 GMT) and officials finally cancelled the day's competition nearly five hours later, slashing the tournament from 72 to 54 holes in a bid to finish on schedule on Sunday.
The third round will resume at 7:30 am on Sunday with Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano sitting on a three-shot lead from Englishman James Morrison and Edoardo Molinari of Italy.
More than 52 millimetres (two inches) of rain swamped Sentosa Golf Club, forming puddles on the fairways and sending soaked spectators diving for cover, in conditions tournament director Mike Stewart called "hugely disappointing".
"The biggest problem has been the lightning activity in the area which has made it too dangerous to be on the golf course," said Stewart. "So we've taken the decision to have no further play today."
Stewart denied the move to play only three rounds was motivated by the fact that some of the star players must travel to Australia early next week for the Presidents Cup team competition.
And he said there had been no discussion about a new date for the Singapore Open, which has become notorious for rain delays and is competing for players and attention with a host of other events.
Leader Fernandez-Castano is now in the box seat for the US$1 million first prize after completing a 10-under-par wonder-round early on Saturday, after rain also reduced play on Friday.
"It has certainly been a long day. It started pretty good for me but then I have been waiting around all day like everyone else and that is not what you want," he said.
"It?s a shame that the tournament has to be reduced to 54 holes. It?s good for me to be leading after 36 but I don?t think that?s what anyone wants... everyone would rather be playing 72 holes."
The reduction to three rounds appeared to dash four-time major-winner Phil Mickelson's lingering hopes after he suffered a double-bogey meltdown to lie 10 shots off the pace.
Mickelson, also completing his second round, drove his second shot into water on the par-five 18th and then watched in horror as his subsequent chip span back 25 yards off the green and into the drink.
The tournament's biggest drawcard, whose induction into golf's Hall of Fame was announced on Thursday, finished with a seven on the hole for a round of 67 and four-under-par 138 overall, surviving the cut by just two shots.
"I did not have a bogey all day and tried to get aggressive on 18 and took a risk and hit driver into the water. But that was not what was upsetting," Mickelson said.
"I hit a wedge shot after I took a drop -- it spun back 90 feet in the water and I do not understand that. That was a little frustrating."
South Korea's Y.E. Yang was the best of the crop of ex-major champions as he lay seven shots off the lead at par-71 Sentosa Golf Club alongside England's Justin Rose.
Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen all escaped the cut alongside veterans Colin Montgomerie and Miguel Angel Jimenez, but Irish star Padraig Harrington was out along with 2008 champion Jeev Milkha Singh.