Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Strong winds lead to early halt at Open

BLOWN AWAY:Eleven players managed to finish their third rounds before the wind reached its peak, with Cristie Kerr and Lydia Ko posting the best scores of 75

AFP, ST ANDREWS, Scotland

Michelle Wie of the US removes a tee from her hair to mark her ball on the 13th fairway as play is suspended due to high winds at the Women’s British Open in St Andrews, Scotland, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

High winds led to an early halt to play in the third round of the Women’s British Open on Saturday with the organizers not ruling out the possibility of a finish today.

With gusts of up to 90kph sweeping the Old Course the players were taken off at 12:30pm and play was finally called off for the day at 6pm.

The championship was set to resume at 6:15am yesterday and the remainder of the third round and the fourth rounds were to be played on the same day.

It is the second year in a row that the Women’s Open has been jinxed by bad weather. Last year at Hoylake in England the whole of Friday’s play was wiped out by wind.

The organizers still managed to get the championship completed by the Sunday evening — but only just. Thirty-six holes were packed into the final day that was blighted by torrential rain and wind.

South Korea’s Choi Na-yeon, one ahead of the field overnight on 10-under, was set to play 36 holes in one day.

Eleven players managed to finish their third rounds before the wind reached its peak, with Cristie Kerr of the US and New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko posting the best scores of 75. They are both on four-over.

Taiwan’s Candie Kung was one-under after her third round early yesterday.

Twenty-six groups started and the only player who managed to keep a bogey off her card was the history-chasing Inbee Park.

The South Korean is aiming to become the first golfer to win four majors in one calendar year and she began the final round eight shots behind Choi.

She squeezed in four holes before the suspension and picked up a birdie at the third to move to three-under.

Susan Simpson, the championship’s head of golf operations, confirmed that play could go into today.

“The forecast is better for tomorrow, but there is not going to be much let up in the wind, so a Monday finish is definitely an option,” Simpson said.

“But this is a major championship, so every endeavor will be made to complete the 72 holes,” she said. “Today, we had gusts over 50mph [80kph] and as soon as the balls were moving on the greens we had to suspend play. There was also some damage to infrastructure. We did consider abandoning the whole days’ scores, but five groups had completed, so we felt it was fairer to let them stand and suspend play overnight.”

Additional reporting by staff writer

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