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Rain hinders SA Open progress

GOLF: Persistent rain caused havoc on the opening day of the South African Open as organisers were forced to abandon play with half the field still to tee off yesterday.

Only six players were able to complete nine holes of their first round before the waterlogged course became unplayable.

Five players shared the lead at two under when play was stopped, and twice major winner Retief Goosen made a fast start as the South African birdied two of his first four holes.

Briton David Drysdale, Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen and the South African duo of Martin Maritz and Divan van den Heever were the others on two-under.

Organisers announced a late start for today to give the greenkeepers more time to work on making the course playable.

"The key is to get 36 holes in because that constitutes a tournament," tournament director Gary Todd said. "We will finish round one on Friday and start round two on Saturday. Once we have completed round two we will make a cut and, depending what the weather is like on Sunday, it will either be a 36-hole final round with a limited field or a 54-hole round with a full cut."

Todd refused to rule out a Monday finish but he was cautious as to whether the event would be pushed into an extra day.