Thunderstorm reduces Joburg Open to three rounds

The early end to play on Saturday means the event will now be decided over 54 holes

 A major storm suspends play for the day in the third round of the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

A major storm suspends play for the day in the third round of the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

Darren Fichardt and Paul Waring were tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Joburg Open as a thunderstorm wiped out most of Saturday’s play and reduced the European Tour event to 54 holes.

A bogey at the last hole of his second round earlier on Saturday saw England’s Waring drop into a share of the lead with South African Fichardt, who posted a second successive 66 on Friday but did not get on to the course on Saturday.

Greystones native Paul Dunne, who managed to complete his second round (68) on Friday, is six under overall and five off the lead.

Rain has played havoc with the tournament at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club all week and the early end to play on Saturday means the event will now be decided over three rounds.

The 32-year-old Waring, eyeing a first title after nine years on the Tour, resumed his second round early on day three on top of the leader board by a single stroke, after completing 12 holes of his second round before fading light caused play to be suspended on Friday.

He hit five pars on Saturday before dropping a shot on the 18th.

“I’m more than happy. It was obviously frustrating to come back and be one over for the last four holes,” Waring told reporters. “But I’ve always felt like I played quite well here, so I’m looking forward to the last round.”

Dean Burmester also dropped a shot on Saturday to slip back to 10 under and will begin the third round in a share of third place alongside fellow South African Jacques Kruyswijk.

Defending champion Haydn Porteous was among a group on nine under after matching his first-round score of 67 in his second round.

Ireland’s Jeff Hopkins (two over par) and Darren Clarke (five over par) both missed the cut.

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