Date: September 15, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Wild weather slashes round off Evian

Wild French weather has forced the final women's major championship of the season to be cut to 54 holes.

Rain and strong winds at Evian-Les-Bains forced the scheduled opening round to be scrapped at the Evian Championship with play to start afresh tonight.

LPGA Tour commissioner Michael Whan said what the little play was achieved would be wiped from the record.

Whan announced the abandonment more than four hours after players had been called off the wind-swept course overlooking Lake Geneva.

"Nobody even played half a round," said Whan, who added that a 54-hole championship offered the "cleanest, fairest, most competitive" option.

"We know that if we said 72 holes and we start again tomorrow, we're probably looking at Monday and Tuesday, and that's not great for anyone," Whan said.

"The good news is the golf course is draining like never before, we really like what's going on with the greens and fairways.

"But with the hills and caddie bags, today we were worried about safety. Everything is pretty saturated and if somebody goes down, it’s not going to be a great experience."

The decision wasn't received well by angry fans on social media who stayed through the worst of the weather and were furious it didn't restart when it cleared.

That angst spread among several players and the world's media gathered for what the fifth major championship of the women's season.

The overwhelming criticism was that a major needed different treatment from a "regular" tour event and that a late finish was acceptable in order for the tournament to be played over 72 holes.

The leaderboard had been headed by world No.1 So Yeon Ryu and Jessica Korda at two under. The Korean had finished five holes while Korda had gone through eight.

A restart was good news for Ai Miyazato, the former No.1 playing her final event before retiring. The 2009 and 2011 Evian champion was three over through six holes.