It’s on again, but Monday finish certain
The 109th US Open is up and running again, but the heavy rainfall has done enough damage to send it into a Monday finish.
The 109th US Open is up and running again, Phil Mickelson hitting the first shot when it resumed at 17.00 BST after USGA officials agreed that unforgiving Bethpage Black was dry enough for fair competition.
But already it was too late to prevent this prestigious event going to its first Monday final-round finish since 1983.
It has been raining on and off at Bethpage Black from the first day with no single round completed on schedule and when storms continuing through the night on Saturday with a further three-quarters of an inch of rain flooding the course, officials decided to delay play until noon (17.00 BST), pushing fourth-round play back into Monday for the first time in 26 years.
USGA officials were still confident of beginning the final round later today and of finally getting the tournament finished on Monday, while having already insisted, after play was all but washed out on Thursday, that they would not name a champion until at least all 72 holes of play were completed.
“The forecast for the afternoon is relatively good,” USGA Senior Director of Rules and Competitions Mike Davis said.
“We could see some light showers but they are not thinking thunderstorms or anything heavy.
“So if that’s the case, we will play as long as we can. If it’s overcast skies that gets us to around 7.55pm or 8pm. If it does lighten up then we could play to maybe 8.15pm or 8.20pm.
“We will resume round four at some time tomorrow morning, that is yet to be determined, and then if we have a play-off it would go sometime tomorrow afternoon.”
Play-offs, US Open rules call for an extra 18 holes, at the end of the regulation four rounds are not so unusual with Tiger Woods returning to Torrey Pines on a Monday 12 months ago to secure his third championship title with a victory over Rocco Mediate that went to a 19th, sudden-death hole.
Barnes leads by one stroke at eight under par from fellow American Lucas Glover, his 132 from two rounds going into the record books as the lowest 36-hole score in US Open history.
Mike Weir will begin a further shot back in third place with Sweden’s Peter Hanson, Japan’s Azuma Yano and American David Duval, the former Open champion, tied for fourth at three under.
England’s Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher are in a group at two under with Westwood completing the first hole on resumption of play by parring the par four.
Oliver Wilson, who got to one under alongside Phil Mickelson with a birdie before last night’s suspension, resumed on the fifth hole while Sergio Garcia was at level par having played three and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell restarted after six holes on the back nine at one over.
McDowell’s compatriot Rory McIlroy resumed at two over on the 15th hole having started at the 10th tee but immediately bogeyed the par four to fall to three over, where defending champion Tiger Woods began his day having parred his opening hole.
Ian Poulter had yet to start his third round after posting a second-round 74 to slip to four over with Barnes and Glover forming the final pairing set to go off the last of the 16 players not to have already begun.
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