Strong winds hit Qatar Masters tournament in Doha
Organizers cut event to 54 holes from 72
John Daly tops leaderboard but has not started second round
Overnight leader Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano drops two shots in five holes
John Daly was left at the top of the Qatar Masters leaderboard Friday despite not hitting a ball in anger in his second round.
The 45-year-old American was five-under-par after his opening round, but strong winds meant only three hours play was possible on the second day of the European Tour event.
Overnight leader Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain bogeyed two of his first five holes before the suspension to slip back to four-under-par.
Jason Day, who parred the six holes he managed and KJ Choi of Korea, another not get on the course, are also on four-under.
With weather conditions not set to improve until Sunday, organizers have taken the decision to cut the tournament to 54 holes.
“It was windy when we went out and I had a few birdie chances, but then I bogeyed two holes into the wind,” Fernandez-Castano told the European Tour website.
“I hope tomorrow I can take advantage of the remaining ten holes I have. I didn’t have any balls moving, but certain shots you could hardly keep balanced. Being selfish I’m quite happy play was called off.”
Tournament director David Propyn said he had been left with a difficult decision.
“The course is still on the verge of playable, but there’s no point sending the guys out for an hour or two on a marginal course,” he said.
Former Open Champion Daly is seeking his first victory in eight years and has slipped to 543rd in the world rankings.
World No.2 Lee Westwood struggled in the conditions, following a birdie on the 11th with a double bogey on the next and a further dropped shot saw him slip back to one over.
He is tied in joint 48th with former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.
South African Branden Grace, a back to back winner this season on home soil, again showed his mettle with four birdies in six holes to go to one-under-par, while Ireland’s Damien McGrane went to the turn in five-under 31, but he started with a 78.
Many of the field will be heading Monday to Dubai for the third leg of the ‘Desert Swing’.