Wednesday 13 December 2017

Daly on top as gusts curtail Qatar Masters

Gusts of 35mph meant less than three hours of play was possible on the second day of the Qatar Masters in Doha -- and the second leg of the European Tour's Middle East swing has now been cut to 54 holes.

American John Daly was among those who did not hit a shot, but the 45-year-old, ranked 543rd in the world, moved into the lead when Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano bogeyed two of his first five holes before the suspension came.

Former Open champion Daly, chasing his first win for eight years, headed into the weekend five under par, while Fernandez-Castano, who won the Singapore Open in November when that event was trimmed to three rounds because of thunderstorms, was a stroke behind along with Korean KJ Choi and Australian Jason Day.

Choi was another who did not have to play, while Day's six opening pars means he was yet to drop a shot.

Lee Westwood's day began well with a birdie on the 11th, but he double-bogeyed the next and, when he ran up a five on the 14th, he was one over and only joint 48th alongside Graeme McDowell, who had bogeyed the 11th and birdied the 14th.


Despite the conditions, Ireland's Damien McGrane went to the turn in 31, but he had started with a 78 and so was still only one over, while four birdies in six holes by South African Branden Grace lifted him into a tie for 15th on one under.

Officials were close to deciding on a 12.15pm restart, but then the gusts got up again and that was too much to keep balls still on the greens.

It was announced soon after that the sponsors did not want the event to extend into Monday.

Many of the players are also entered for the Dubai Desert Classic next week, but Hunter Mahan will head back to the Pebble Beach Pro-am.

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