British Open start delayed with St Andrews under water

ST ANDREWS: The second round of the British Open was delayed on Friday after torrential rain flooded the Old Course at St Andrews, leaving many of the greens, fairways and bunkers under water.

Royal and Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said he hoped play would be able to commence in "an hour or two," though high winds gusting up to 35mph will make scoring extremely difficult.

With pools of water lying all across the Old Course layout and the surrounding streets and car parks completely saturated, the bad weather represents a real headache for the organisers.

"The course still has a lot of standing water on it," said director of greenkeeping Gordon Moir. "We expect another shower and then we'll have to wait for an hour to an hour and a half.

"We are not sure for certain when play will be able to start but we are told the rain should have passed by 10am. We are going to have as many people out there as possible with squeegies and pumps.

"It's a little bit disappointing as the course has been in such good condition in the last few weeks."

Even stronger winds gusting up to 50mph are forecast on Saturday and the Royal and Ancient organisers will face a difficult task to get the tournament finished on schedule by Sunday.

The second round looks certain to be carried over until the weekend and it will then be tough to cram the final 36 holes into Saturday and Sunday.

"It could be Armageddon-type stuff by the looks of the weather forecast," said Britain's Danny Willett who shot a first-round 66 to lie one stroke off the lead held by American Dustin Johnson.

"When the wind and rain gets up it can be a lottery."

The Open was also hampered by bad weather when it was last held at St Andrews in 2010, with dangerous high winds creating havoc in the second round.