Sport Golf

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Scott leads Singapore field as Mickelson avoids disqualification

The flooded 18th green at the Sentosa Golf Club's following a bout of heavy rainfall which forced officials to postpone the final round of the Singapore Open.
The flooded 18th green at the Sentosa Golf Club's following a bout of heavy rainfall which forced officials to postpone the final round of the Singapore Open.

Bernie McGuire in Singapore

Phil Mickelson narrowly avoided the embarrassment of being disqualified from the Barclays Singapore Open after dealing with off-course 'logistics' issues during a lengthy rain delay on day four of the event yesterday.

Play was delayed by five-and-a-half hours when an electrical storm hit Singapore just prior to noon local time. The Sentosa course was soon flooded, while the nearby Changi Airport was closed also for more than two hours.

Mickelson had played 11 holes and knowing that play would extend into today, the current world No 4 took the opportunity to return to his hotel room.

"I was under the impression that play was going to resume at 7.30 in the morning so I left the course," said Mickelson.

"I had to get myself a new hotel room, get my luggage off the plane and make sure my pilot was okay to stay another night, so I was dealing with the logistics of staying an extra night.

"When I got the message that play was going to restart I was lucky to have a driver who zipped his way back to the course. I ran onto the tee just as one of my playing partners had teed off.

"But the delay really didn't do me any harm as I went par, birdie. Not bad! I am just relieved I was not disqualified, so I am happy to accept the penalty."

Chief referee John Paramour later advised Mickelson to add two strokes to his scorecard.

"Phil was under the misapprehension that play had been called for the day and that the round was going to resume at 7.30 in the morning," said Paramour.

"But he arrived at the first tee, unfortunately, just after the klaxon had gone for the restart, so he was late and as a result he was given a two-stroke penalty.

"However, he avoided disqualification because he arrived within five minutes."

There were plenty of frayed tempers later on, when players learnt that they would have to be back at the course at 7.30 this morning to complete their rounds -- especially as a storm had been predicted yet yesterday's final round didn't start until 8.40am local time.

One European Tour official certainly didn't deserve the language directed at him by one of the Tour's more senior players.

Unfortunately, the lengthy delay didn't do Graeme McDowell any favours. McDowell was observed fast asleep in the locker room having just played five holes of his final round. When he awoke and returned to the course at 5.15pm local time, McDowell found himself well behind Australia's Adam Scott.

Scott is a former back-to-back winner of the event and had spent much of the delay in conversation in the large open-air veranda with Ian Poulter -- the Englishman looking to retain the title he won last year.

The Australian went back out to quickly establish a two-stroke lead over Poulter and four over McDowell.

By the time play ended for the day, Scott had picked up three birdies to move three strokes clear of Poulter on 17-under par through eight holes, with McDowell at 12-under par after nine.

"It's been such a stop-start day you just can't get any rhythm but Adam's just blowing us away at the moment," said McDowell.

"But I've still got nine holes to play and I still have not written off the chance of winning this."

Germany's Martin Kaymer -- McDowell's rival for the Race to Dubai title -- returned to the course and the seventh green, and immediately heralded his intentions by knocking in his 20-foot birdie putt.

Kaymer then grabbed back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11 to move to nine- under par after 12 holes.

Irish Independent

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