The second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship was delayed by thick fog on Friday.
Play was due to get under way at 07.20 local time time (03.20 Irish time), only for fog to reduce visibility to a few yards in places, with the players told they would be given 30 minutes notice of any resumption.
— Pleasant View GC (@pleasantviewgol) January 22, 2016
American amateur Bryson DeChambeau, who calls himself a “golfing scientist”, was the surprise overnight leader after an opening 64, the 22-year-old enjoying a one-shot lead over world number five Henrik Stenson.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy was a shot further back alongside South Africa’s Branden Grace, with English pair Andy Sullivan and Richard Bland on five under and world number one Jordan Spieth a shot further back.
Spieth, who started his year by shooting 30 under par to win the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii by eight shots, admitted his driving was ”short and crooked” for most of the opening day, but was more concerned with receiving a ”monitoring penalty” on the penultimate hole.
”It was a bit odd,” said the Masters and US Open champion, who will be fined £2,000 if he transgresses again. ”I got a bad time on my putt on the eighth when they took us off the clock on that green and the guys behind us hadn’t even reached the fairway on a par five.
”I understand that if you are being timed and you are taking longer than the allotted time, you get a bad time. I understand the rule but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when our group had caught up.”
The fog finally lifted sufficiently to allow tournament officials to announce that play would start at 10:05 local time, a delay of two hours and 45 minutes.
That meant the later starters, including the marquee group of McIlroy, Spieth and Rickie Fowler, would almost certainly not complete their second rounds on schedule this evening.
Ian Poulter did not have that problem in the other half of the field, but the Ryder Cup star did have to contend with a painful injury after reporting on Twitter that he had “taken a chunk” out of his thumb getting into a courtesy car on Thursday night.
Poulter had carded an opening two-under-par 70, with the cut currently projected to fall at level par.