By Tony Jimenez
The Open Championship will end on a Monday for the first time since the late Seve Ballesteros won at Royal Lytham in 1988 after high winds caused havoc on Saturday.
The Royal and Ancient (R&A) organisers announced their plan for the delayed second round to be completed later on Saturday, for the third round to be played on Sunday and for the final round to be contested on Monday.
It will be only the second Monday finish in Open history.
A howling 45mph gale forced play to be suspended around half an hour after the golfers had returned to St Andrews at 7am to try to complete their second rounds.
When 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen’s ball began blowing wildly across the 13th green at around 07.30 organisers called a halt to proceedings, although a few groups managed to finish the holes they were on.
“The forecasts predict a drop in wind speeds between 3 and 4pm,” said the R&A. “Play is expected to resume at 4pm providing acceptable wind speeds.”
Saturday’s brief passage of play was a damaging one for leader Dustin Johnson who had returned to the edge of the 14th green that he had reached in two the previous night.
A poor chip and a three-putt dropped him to a share of the lead on nine-under-par with England’s Danny Willett who was safely in the clubhouse.
The second round could not be completed on schedule on Friday after more than three hours had been lost because of torrential morning rain, meaning 42 of the 156-strong field returned early on Saturday to try to get back on track.
Johnson’s playing partner Jordan Spieth, who managed to par the 14th to stay at five under, could be heard complaining that play should not have restarted.
Spieth is bidding to become the first player since fellow American Ben Hogan in 1953 to win the first three majors of the year.