THE second round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at windy Hoylake was being started all over again after an hour of mayhem before play was suspended today.
Thirty-six players were a cumulative 52 over par in the hour they were kept on the course during gusts of upto 50mph.
But, to mass relief, they were all then told that their scores would not count.
When the championship could resume remained to be seen. The players were brought in just after 8am and it was announced three hours later that there would be no resumption before 3pm at the earliest.
England’s Felicity Johnson, who had been joint leader early in her first round, set off with a quintuple bogey nine, dropped another shot at the second and then two more on the third.
From two under par after three holes of the event she crashed to next-to-last place on 14 over par.
German playing partner Caroline Masson double-bogeyed the opening three holes to stand 10 over and there was also a change at the top of the leaderboard.
Last year’s US Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu, who shared the overnight pace on two under with fellow South Korean Haeji Kang, bogeyed the long 10th, the only hole she had time for before the suspension.
England’s last winner of the title Karen Stupples had two double bogeys and a birdie, while amateur Holly Clyburn - joint third following her level par 72 - bogeyed the first and double-bogeyed the fourth.
The scoring was better for those who resumed on the 10th tee, but there were still some furious players before the decision was taken to halt the action.
American star Cristie Kerr saw her ball blown off the tee three times at the 12th, but she, Norwegian Suzann Pettersen and Japan’s Erina Hara were told to play on for a while longer.
Once at the green Hara’s ball was two feet from the hole, but then blew eight feet past.
In a statement following the suspension tournament director Susan Simpson said: “The Rules Committee has declared the scores this morning null and void.
“The competitors began their round in extremely adverse weather conditions and conditions subsequently worsened despite our belief that they would remain stable.
“It would have been unfair to those competitors not to declare play null and void and cancel all scores for the round in question.”
Such action was not unprecedented in major golf. Seve Ballesteros won his third Open title on a Monday in 1988 after scores on the Saturday had been wiped out because of bad weather.