High winds and a sudden sandstorm caused a lengthy delay in proceedings on day two of the Oman Open with just over half the field still to begin their second round when play was called to a halt.
“There were light winds in the morning coming from the north-east and suddenly, at approximately 11:00, we experienced a sandstorm with winds between 15 and 25 miles per hour blowing from the south-west (inland), with gusts between 30 and 40mph,” explained Tournament Director Miguel Vidaor.
“Widespread movement of balls on the front-nine greens occurred at 11:38, which is when play was suspended. We continued to monitor the situation, but the wind did not subside in the afternoon and the decision was made to suspend play for the day. We will resume the second round at 07:40 on Saturday morning.”
Scoring was good for the players that teed off early, including some well-placed players at the top of the leaderboard.
Denmark’s Joachim B. Hansen joined overnight leader Kurt Kitayama at six under par as he got to four under through 16 holes before play was curtailed. Kitayama, who fired a six under 66 yesterday, was level par for his round through 13 holes when the klaxon was sounded.
Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer, who was in the first group to tee off, took full advantage of his early start with a two under par 70 to get to five under and he was pleased with his day’s work.
“It’s a decent score in these conditions,” said Kieffer, who sits one stroke back. “It’s not playing very easy. It was windy and getting gusty too. The pins are difficult on firm greens, so I’m pleased with two under today.
“The greens are quite exposed, so you have to take the slope and the wind into account. Putts can be quite difficult in a crosswind. It was a day where you needed to have the right feel for how the ball was going to react, and I had a pretty good feeling today. I have to be happy with my position. I did leave a few out on the back nine. I had two silly three-putts and hit a poor iron shot on 17, it could have been two or three better. But looking at the big picture, it’s a good position to be in.”
Hansen started the day four shots off the lead but a brilliant burst of scoring around the turn moved him into a share of top spot. Last season’s European Challenge Tour Rankings winner began his round on the tenth and quickly made birdies on the 11th and 14th before dropping a shot on the 15th. He bounced back with birdies on the 16th and 17th and then reeled off four birdies in a row from the 1st. However, the 28-year-old found water off the tee on the par-3 fifth and suffered a double bogey.
Scott Jamieson and Yusaku Miyazato remain on five under having not seen any action and they sit a shot clear of Gaganjeet Bhullar, Fabrizio Zanotti and Hugo Leon who were all three under for their rounds when play was stopped.
Seven players, including Thomas Pieters and Alex Levy, are also in that group on four under par but didn’t get to begin their second round.
The second round will resume at 7:40am local time on Saturday morning.