A thunderstorm hit Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club on Saturday to cause yet another delay to the Joburg Open – this time reducing the tournament to 54 holes instead of the regulation 72.
The tournament has been affected by heavy rains throughout the week and the first two rounds were both disrupted as the course became increasingly waterlogged. The Saturday storm, which hit soon after noon, was heavy enough to halt play for the rest of the day with no chance of 72 holes being played by Sunday evening.
Greens staff at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington said there had been over 200 millimetres of rain during the week, and Saturday’s storm had unloaded 35mm more within the first hour.
Sunshine Tour tournament director Theo Manyama announced that play in the third round would resume at 7am on Sunday, with the third round now being the final round.
Currently leading the tournament at 11 under par after a round on each of the West and East courses are South Africa’s Darren Fichardt and England’s Paul Waring. They were a stroke ahead of the South African duo of Jacques Kruyswijk and Dean Burmester.
Defending champion Haydn Porteous was a further stroke back together with five other players.
Waring, who has played the tournament many times, fancies his chances given his experience of playing in wet weather. ‘I’ve always felt like I played quite well here, so I’m looking forward to the weekend,’ he said.
‘I’m still going to stay focused,’ said Kruyswijk. ‘I was just chilling in the locker room when I got the call about the delay. So I’m going to go home and relax a bit more and see what happens tomorrow.’