McIlroy unfazed by Dunhill delay

By: abadam


The 50th birthday of Rory McIlroy’s father on Monday will be even more special than planned.

Gale-force winds predicted to gust as high as 70mph forced the cancellation of today’s play on all three courses being used for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships in Scotland.

But instead of cutting the event to 54 holes it was decided to extend it into Monday – and that could now be the day when 20-year-old McIlroy goes top of the European money list for the first time.

The celebrity pro-am has also given him the chance to partner his father in a tournament and, providing all goes well when they resume at Kingsbarns tomorrow, they will play the final round together at St Andrews.

Joint halfway leader with fellow Ulsterman Michael Hoey and Scot Richie Ramsay, McIlroy had no quibbles with the decision.

“You can’t argue,” he said. “I think everyone can see that, especially here at Kingsbarns.

“I am looking at the ninth hole just now and with the way that wind is blowing you wouldn’t be able to get your ball near that green in three shots, never mind trying to putt on it.

“I think the forecast for the next two days is pretty good, so if we have to wait till Monday to finish then we have to wait.”

Ramsay, also yet to play Kingsbarns, added: “I think the right decision has been made.

“You look at some of the exposed greens on these courses and the balls are just blowing off in all directions, so you couldn’t play in that wind.

“I am struggling to keep my balance standing here at the moment. Plus if you put everyone out there and had to bring them on and off the course throughout the day it would be pretty tough to co-ordinate that with three courses.”

The decision to call things off was taken at 9.30am rather than waiting to see how things developed.

Tournament director David Garland stated: “The forecast that we have from every source is for the winds to strengthen during the day, certainly between 11am and 3pm.

“We are very confident that although it will be very breezy tomorrow and Monday we should be able to finish on time on Monday afternoon.

“At St Andrews the exposed holes such as six, seven, 11 and 12 had problems. At Kingsbarns the exposed greens were the fourth and ninth, while at Carnoustie the fifth green was unplayable.

“The balls were moving on all the putting surfaces we were watching.

“Theoretically we could have the tournament over three rounds, but we took the decision that this is such a prestigious tournament, with a prize fund of USD5million, that we wanted to go into Monday.”

First prize is more than £485,000 and even second place would take McIlroy – or Lee Westwood if he can climb back into contention from seven behind – ahead of injured pair Martin Kaymer and Paul Casey on the European Tour ‘Race to Dubai’.

Ross Fisher can go top by winning, but at only one under he was in a tie for 87th and needed to be among the top 60 who qualify for the final round.

The top 20 teams make it through as well. The McIlroys are in a tie for 13th, six behind former Australian Test captain Steve Waugh and Scott Strange.

Tournament organisers have announced that spectators will be given free entry for both Sunday and Monday.

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