Rain rules in Durban
First round abandoned early on after persistent rain
Last Updated: 16/12/10 2:41pm
Durban CC: Rain damage
The first day of the South African Open has been abandoned due to persistent rain at the Durban Country Club.
Only half the field managed to tee off in the adverse conditions, with no player completing the course and just six making it through the front nine.
When play was halted at 8.53am local time, two-time champion Retief Goosen was part of a five-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after going two under through four holes.
Joining him were Scotland's David Drysdale (through seven holes), Thorbjorn Olesen (eight) and home pair Divan van den Heever (six) and Martin Maritz (six).
A 12-man group sits one shot adrift, including Marius Thorp and South African duo Willie van der Merwe and Colin Nel - three of the players to complete nine holes.
British players David Howell (six) and Scott Jamieson (three) as well as Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (six) also sit on one under.
Reigning champion Richie Ramsay was one-over par after four holes, while other past winners Ernie Els and Tim Clark did not manage to start their rounds.
After the suspension of play, organisers waited five and a half hours before they made the final call to abandon the day, with the remainder of the opening round to be played on Friday and the second round set for Saturday.
"We've had in excess of three inches of rain - that's a massive amount," tournament director Gary Todd said.
"We need maximum drainage, hence the (later) 8.30am start tomorrow. Hopefully the wind picks up this evening and it dries up a little bit and it gives the greenkeeper two hours tomorrow morning.
"The key is to get 36 holes in, which constitutes a tournament. So we'll finish round one on Friday and then start round two on Saturday.
"So we'll get round two done and make a cut. Then we'll see how things pan out and what the weather looks like. It will either be a 36-hole final round with a limited field or a 54-hole round with a full cut, 65 and ties."
Todd also seemed to rule out a Monday finish in the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event because of travel difficulties to and from Europe around the festive period.