Vienna washed out

The first day’s play of the Bank Austria Open in Vienna was washed out today without a single shot being struck.

Almost three inches of rain over the last two days left parts of Fontana Golf Club under water and could see the event reduced to 54 holes.

Play was due to begin at 7.15am local time today but a torrential downpour from 5am onwards, on an already saturated course, meant play was impossible.

Tournament director Miguel Vidaor told the PA Sport: “The second round will be played on Friday, the same times as today, then round two will be played on Saturday.

“We will have to make a decision before the second round starts as to whether we go for four rounds or three rounds.

“If we go for four we will probably have to cut to 50 and ties instead of 65 and ties, if we don’t cut to 50 we might have to play just three rounds.

“The players need to know before they go out for the second round if the cut is going to be altered and whether we are aiming to go three or four rounds. We will make that decision tomorrow afternoon.

“If the weather forecast is perfect we might attempt four rounds but if the weather is dodgy on Sunday we might play it safe and play three rounds.”

The afternoon section of Wednesday’s pre-tournament pro-am was also a victim of the weather and Vidaor added: “On Tuesday we had 35mm of rain and from 5am this morning we had another 35mm so we are talking almost three inches in two and a half days.

“The course has taken it amazingly well. The green staff can clear the bunkers, the biggest problem we face is the fairways. They are gone, unplayable, and are going to need a few hours to dry out.

“According to the forecast, from noon onwards the rain should ease and see some sunshine coming out. There is a chance of the odd thunderstorm but luckily the forecast for tomorrow looks pretty good and also for Saturday and Sunday.”

A Monday finish is a possibility but would present a number of logistical problems, especially with Euro 2008 about to start in Austria and Switzerland.

The tournament was originally scheduled to finish at 5pm on Sunday to coincide with Austria’s opening game with Croatia in nearby Vienna.

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