SA Open on hold as severe storms hit Sun City – The Citizen
It wasn’t quite the time to play golf or even fly kites in Sun City on Saturday as the third round of the South Africa Open couldn’t be completed with severe thunderstorms cutting through runs to Justin Harding’s high-flying ascent to the top of the leaderboards. .
Harding had just taken the start of the 14e hole, having fallen to 11 under par and a one-stroke lead over Danie van Tonder and Oliver Bekker, when the siren signifying play had been suspended due to the threat of lightning went off at 1:05 p.m.
It collapsed over the next two hours, falling over 30mm, and a typical Pilanesberg maelstrom was accompanied by high winds that sometimes caused trees to wave like flags.
But organizers were hoping to resume play at 4 p.m., only for another storm to arrive, this time depositing a quick 8mm. A putative 5pm restart time was in place by then, but storms kept rolling over the ancient concentric rings of volcanic mountains that surround the Gary Player Country Club.
With the thunder and lightning never really far away, today’s play was canceled at 5 p.m. Round three, with the leaders having five holes to play, will be over from 7 a.m. on Sunday and tournament director Reinard Kilian has said they hope to complete the final round in the afternoon.
“Player safety is what determined our decisions, it’s the first thing we think about,” said Killian. “The storms were forecast to start at 2pm and we changed the toss to try to finish by then.
“Unfortunately, the storms got to us faster than we expected and they just didn’t want to go away. And it was a pretty intense and violent storm. Unfortunately, whenever we saw a window of opportunity to resume play, it closed with another storm looming.
“There is a chance of moderate rain tomorrow [Sunday] early in the morning and showers all day. Thunderstorms are possible, but the likelihood is not as high as it is today.
“So we have a feeling that we can finish the tournament tomorrow [Sunday]. The fairways should always be playable and we are confident we can sort out the bunkers. The course should be as playable as it was this morning, ”said Killian.
Harding became the co-leader with his third birdie out of the first nine, and when overnight leader Oliver Bekker missed the ninth by four, it meant he had given up at least a share of first place. for the first time in the tournament.
Bekker then bogey the par-threes 13e shortly before the game was suspended, meaning Harding’s punishment for a bug on the 10e was short lived.
Van Tonder was also flying on Saturday, also collecting three birdies from the top nine.