South qualifying second round abandoned as rain stops play at Lahinch
Leading 64 players after first round qualify, with four of the 13 players who shot two-over 74s surviving the cut
Lahinch golf club in Co Clare. Torrential rain and flooded greens forced organisers to scrap the second qualifying round for the South of Ireland Amateur Championship. Photograph: Getty Images
Torrential rain and flooded greens forced organisers to scrap the second qualifying round for the 117th South of Ireland Amateur Championship at Lahinch
Links golf is as unpredictable as the wild Atlantic wind, and just 24 hours after scorching conditions led to a birdie-fest in the Pierse Motors Volkswagen-sponsored event at the sun-kissed Co Clare links, black clouds descended on day two.
A steady 30 mph breeze, accompanied by rain squalls, lashed the early starters to such as extent that Kilkenny’s Mark Power followed his opening 65 with a 79 and Hilton Templepatrick’s Reece Black took 10 shots more than on day one as he posted a 75.
The afternoon starters were praying for some respite, but the rain became incessant shortly after midday and then turned torrential, flooding several greens to such an extent that play had to be suspended at 3:40pm.
By 5pm the championship committee decided that given the heavy rain that was still falling and the grim forecast, their best option was to abandon the round and declare the leading 64 players after Wednesday’s first round the qualifiers, with four of the 13 players who shot two-over 74s surviving the cut.
As a result Power could forget all about a 79 that featured a triple bogey seven for playing a wrong ball on the 17th as he finished up as the leading qualifier, with his 65 edging out Black on a countback.
Judge the wind
“When you get that weather it is just a completely different golf course,” Power said of the change in conditions. “The difference was trying to judge the wind and keep yourself dry when the big squalls of rain come in.”
The decision to abandon the second round with 78 of the 150-strong field yet to post a score was greeted with cheers from the majority of rain-soaked players huddled under the clubhouse porch, though some who were going well or others who had yet to start were not so happy.
“We have abandoned play due to the course being unplayable,” said Pádraig McInerney,chairman of the championship committee. “With no guarantee of finishing today or even early tomorrow morning, Rule 33-2D [course unplayable] is being invoked.
“The options were to see how many had finished today’s round and with only 48 per cent of rounds completed, there was no likelihood of getting others around today or at a reasonable time tomorrow.
“We also had to look at weather conditions for tomorrow and it was felt that we would have a struggle tomorrow as well, and it was best to abandon play completely today and go with the top 64 scores from round one.
“We couldn’t be sure we would restart today or whether we would be finished at a reasonable time tomorrow. The hole on the eighth green and two others were completely under water.”
Mallow’s James Sugrue played just four holes in the downpour but the defending champion felt the correct decision was made.
“The third and fourth greens were flooded, and James Fox told me there was a river flowing past the hole on the seventh,” said Sugrue, who qualified with a 66. “Hopefully we will have a clear run at it tomorrow.”
Strokeplay qualifying over 36 holes was introduced for the first time in 2011 but just 27 holes were possible that year due to a lengthy fog delay.