Monday finish for Open after high winds lash course
July 18 2015 10:53 PM

Jordan Spieth of the US hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews yesterday.


DPA/St Andrews

The Open Championship will have a Monday finish for just the second time in history after high winds delayed the start of play at St Andrews yesterday.
After the second round was suspended at 7.32am (0632 GMT) play finally resumed at 1700 GMT, a delay of more than 10 hours.
The only previous time the Open has concluded on a Monday was when the late Seve Ballesteros won at Royal Lytham St Annes in 1988.
On a bright and dry day on the Old Course, officials spent much of the afternoon monitoring wind speeds of up to 45 miles per hour (some 70 kilometres per hour) in the hope they would abate enough to allow play to restart.
But despite forecasts for the winds to ease from mid-afternoon, repeated tests showed stationary balls were still being blown from the greens.
While some spectators spent time on the course, many took the opportunity to visit the town or stroll along the coast.
Daily tickets for Monday will cost only 10 pounds (14.40 euros/15.60 dollars) for all spectators and admission is free for under-16s accompanied by an adult. A last-day daily ticket would normally cost 80 pounds if bought after June 1.
Second-round action early yesterday lasted just over 30 minutes before officials suspended play.
On Friday, the Open was delayed by more than three hours, 14 minutes after it started, because the course was waterlogged.  Calmer weather is forecast Sunday with some early light rain and brighter spells during the afternoon.
Several players were critical of the decision to start play on the Old Course at 0600 GMT yesterday.
Two-time major winner Jordan Spieth was heard saying on the course after the suspension of play at 0632 GMT: “We should never have started.”
While most players walked off, some groups were given the opportunity to complete the holes they were on.
England’s Lee Westwood tweeted: “Bit of a strange decision here at The Open. They seemed to stop play out on 11 and allowed the rest of us to carry on playing.”
Canada’s David Hearn, one of the players on the 11th, said: “More than disappointed in the R&A. Some groups hit only one shot while others played on. It needs to be a fair contest and wasn’t this morning.”
The R&A defended the decision to allow the second round to resume before play was suspended. An initial assessment was that play could start, a statement said.
“Balls were not moving on the greens and while the conditions were extremely difficult, we considered the golf course to be playable,” it said.
“Gusts of wind increased in speed by 10-15 per cent after play resumed. This could not be foreseen at the time that play was restarted and made a material difference to the playability of the golf course.”
In the short spell out on the course, overnight leader Dustin Johnson of the United States immediately dropped a shot.  Resuming at the 14th hole at 10 under par, his chip shot fell short and he then missed the lengthy putt he had left himself.

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