Thunder storms call a halt to Joburg Open
Thunderous rain and lightning storms have curtailed the progress of the third round of the Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club with tournament officials left with little choice but to suspend play overnight.
The East Course was rendered unplayable by a deluge of rain that started shortly after lunchtime on Saturday and continued well into the afternoon meaning that officials made the correct decisions to call the players off the course at 12.57pm local time and then call off play for the day.
The championship, which has suffered from a series of suspensions in play due to inclement weather conditions and bad light since it started on Thursday, will now be contested over 54 holes with the third, and now final round, resuming at 07.00am local time on Sunday.
Darren Fichardt, Paul Waring and Dean Burmester currently hold the three qualifying places for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale. All three players have yet to start the third round.
Three players, who finish in the top 10 and ties at the Joburg Open who are not already exempt, will book a spot in The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale from 16-23 July.
Waring and Burmester were among a large group of players who returned to the venue early on Saturday morning to complete the second round after play was suspended due to bad light on Friday evening.
Waring completed his round in steady fashion and posted a 67 meaning that the Englishman finished tied for the lead with Fichardt on 11-under-par.
Burmester also carded a second round 67 resulting in the South African joining compatriot Jacques Kruyswijk in joint third place one shot back on 10-under-par. Burmester holds the final qualifying place for The Open courtesy of his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking.
A group of six players, including defending champion Haydn Porteous and first round leader Paul Peterson, are still very much in contention on nine-under-par.
The Open Qualifying Series gives players the chance to qualify for golf’s most international major championship at leading Tour events around the world.