Australian victorious as weather curtails the St Rule - again

Southerly winds gusting up to 50mph on the Old Course, St Andrews made golfing history in the prestigious St Rule Trophy women's international amateur tournament this weekend.

Only 11 players in the field of 59 were able to complete their second rounds before play was suspended at 11.45am as balls refused to remain stationary on some of the more exposed greens.

At that point, the tournament was reduced from its traditional three rounds to two because there would not have been enough time to get the field round another circuit, bearing in mind the majority still had to finish their second rounds.

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Eventually, just before 3pm with the gale showing no sign of decreasing, it was decided to abandon yesterday's play and declare the prizewinners on the basis of the first-round scores returned over the New Course on Saturday when it was also windy but not on the same scale as 24 hours later.

So, the 28th staging of the St Rule Trophy became the first to be decided over 18 holes. Since the 54-hole format was introduced in 1989, the year before Annika Sorenstam won it before turning professional, bad weather on the Sunday has cut the competition to two rounds on four occasions - 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Now 2011 goes into the St Rule Trophy record books as the first one-rounder. Is there a St Andrews weather pattern there?

Four players had shared first place on two-under-par 73 at the end of the first round. A card play-off decreed that Australia's Ashley Ona was the St Rule Trophy winner by virtue of having the best inward half of the quartet - 34 strokes.

The three others all came home in 35, with another Australian, Breanna Elliott placed second with the best last six holes, Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom third and Ireland's Leona Maguire fourth.

Maguire, 16, won the Lawson Trophy for the best performance by a competitor under 18 years.

Australia's Ona, Breanna Elliott and Whitney Hillier won the international team event with a best two from three total of 146.