The Players: more disruption as play suspended again

Rory McIlroy is one over par through 15 holes of his first round at Sawgrass

Golf’s richest event suffered more disruption on Friday as play was suspended again in the delayed first round of the €18million Players Championship.

More than half the field were unable to complete their opening 18 holes on Thursday after bad weather caused delays totalling more than five hours.

Play resumed at 7.15am local time at Sawgrass on Friday and continued for four hours before consistent rainfall forced officials to call a halt due to “unplayable course conditions”.

Rory McIlroy had bogeyed the first and birdied the second before play was called off on Thursday - on Friday he birdied his opening two holes, before dropping shots on the sixth, 10th and 14th holes to leave him one over par through 15.

Séamus Power completed just his first hole when his round was halted on level par on Thursday, teeing off on the back nine. His Friday included two birdies, three bogeys and an eagle on the Par 5 second hole, leaving him one under par through 14 holes.

Shane Lowry was one of the players who managed to get his 18 holes in on Thursday, ending up one over with an opening 73. The Offaly man carded a mixed round of five bogeys and four birdies.

Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge, who shot 66 on Thursday, remained tied for the lead with Brice Garnett also reaching six under after 13 holes.

Tournament chief referee Gary Young said the course had received around two-and-a-half inches of rain in the past 24 hours and that a Monday finish was effectively certain if no further play was possible on Friday.

Asked if the tournament could even be forced to extend into Tuesday, Young added: “The potential is there. The potential, but let’s hope not.

“I think everything that we’re looking at, we feel very confident that we can finish this tournament by Monday.”

Winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour are also forecast for Saturday and Young added: “We’re going to make some adjustments to prepare for that overnight.

“The superintendent and his crew are going to need proper time to pick up debris, get the golf course back in condition. So there’s a lot of variables involved.

“I’m talking a little bit about scenarios down the road, but I want to be careful about too many expectations. I would say, if we don’t play any more golf today, we all know that we’ll be here on Monday.”