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Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey facing 36-hole grind

Retief Goosen had just landed back-to-back birdies to claim a share of the lead through four holes of his first round when the early starters at the South African Open were called ashore, literally, as the Durban Country Club became waterlogged yesterday morning.

Starting on the back nine, Goosen birdied 12 and 13 to join Scot David Drysdale, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and two of his fellow countrymen, Divan Van Den Heever and Martin Maritz, at the top of the leaderboard when play was abandoned with just 75 competitors on the golf course.

Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey, had been due to go out in the afternoon wave yesterday and now are among those who, weather permitting of course, face an exacting 36-hole marathon over the next 24 hours as the tournament makes up for lost time.

South Africa has agreed to change the dates of its biggest two golf tournaments to avoid clashing with next year's rescheduled Dubai World Championship and to make sure they continue to be part of the European Tour.

“We have come to an agreement with the European Tour,” Gareth Tindall, commissioner of South Africa's Sunshine Tour, told reporters, adding that the new dates for the Alfred Dunhill championship and South African Open had yet to be decided.

“We have got to be smart in terms of the way we schedule our co-sanctioned events,” he said.

Meanwhile, Martina Gillen picked-up two sweet birdies on her way back to the clubhouse during yesterday's second round of Final Qualifying for the Ladies European Tour.

Gillen played the back nine in five-over but then shot back-to-back birdies at three and four for a round of three-over par 74 and a share of 37th place on six-over.

The top 50 after 72 holes go through to Sunday's final round. Irish Curtis Cup star Danielle McVeigh, playing as an amateur, needs a mini-miracle if she's to make it after a 77 left the Co Down woman in a tie for 87th on 14-over.

Sweden's former World Amateur Champion, Carlonie Hdedwall opened a three stroke lead with an impressive second round 69.

Belfast Telegraph


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