Unprecedented wind brings play at the Open to an hour-long halt
Ferocious winds of over 30mph forced play at St Andrews to be suspended for an hour with players unable to keep their balls stationary on the green.
The action was halted from 2.40pm to 3.40pm when Tiger Woods (6/1 to win the Open), Justin Rose (50/1) and Rory McIlroy (4/1) were all out on the course.
Each subsequently dropped a shot at the hole they resumed on after the hooter had sounded for play to begin again.
McIlroy’s error on the fourth put him back to eight under and gave Louis Oosthuizen a four-shot lead in the clubhouse. He’s 3/1 to win the Open after a round of 67 put him at 12 under.
It appears to be the first time a halt of that length for the reason of strong winds has happened at St Andrews, or even in the Open anywhere.
“I can’t remember anything like it,” said Brad Barry, Ladbrokes’ head golf trader, adding the South African leader would be the one to benefit.
“Oosthuizen’s price contracted from 25/1 at the start of the day to 8/1 by the time he finished, but since he’s been sitting in the clubhouse and the weather has worsened that’s halved.”
Oosthuizen, who was 200/1 pre-tournament, has been picking up bets steadily. “We took £16,000 each way bets when he was 16/1 and again at 12/1,” Barry said.
Phil Mickelson (a tempting 150/1 to win the Open) was clearly angered by the referee’s call in his post-round interview.
His will feel aggrieved that golfers who had a clear run on Thursday, then benefited from being out of the way for the worst of the weather.
The American world number two has finished his second round and lies on a Championship score of par – potentially the cusp of the cut – but Barry has words of hope for any Mickelson backers.
“Almost anyone who makes the cut can win,” Barry said. “They’ve got a chance simply because the weather is usually better in the mornings and worse in the afternoons.”
“A golfer could finish their third round in the morning at seven under and be a few shots behind, but end up in the lead as players struggle round in severe conditions.”
At two under in the clubhouse, Sergio Garcia (125/1 to win the Open) could benefit from that particular scenario.