Date: July 18, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes @ St Andrews

Weather mars Open again

There were only 32 minutes of play on a wild third morning of The Open, but it was enough to dent several Aussie hopes.

The R&A defended its decision to start play as winds in excess of 65km/h buffeted the Old Course, forcing balls to roll around greens after they’d been marked and making play extremely difficult before it was suspended.

The chief loser among the contenders this morning was Jason Day who missed his par putt on the 12th on resumption, then three-putted on the 13th to fall to six under.

The only saving grace from the Queenslander’s perspective is that overnight leader Dustin Johnson watched in disbelief ahead as his ball rolled off the 14th green and he took a bogey to fall into a tie with Danny Willett at nine under.

The R&A defended its decision, saying wind had picked up to extreme levels only after play resumed.

“We spent an hour at the far end of the course, before play started, assessing whether the course was playable,” the R&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.

“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.”

Down the leaderboard, three Aussies fighting to make the cut had their chances severely dented.

Adam Bland took bogeys on both the 8th and 9th holes, Scott Hend a double on the 9th and Scott Arnold a bogey on the 10th to all fall to three over.

The projected cut remains at even par, although if the wind prevails, there’s a slight chance it could drift to one over.

The other Aussies on course are good mates John Senden (+1 on the 11th green) and Greg Chalmers (-3 on the 11th tee).

The R&A has given no word about a possible resumption.

More than three hours of play was lost after a torrential downpour early on the second morning, meaning 14 groups were unable to complete their rounds as scheduled.

The R&A hopes still to complete the third round by this evening and leave a regulation final day on Sunday.