Rain wrecks Russian Open

A day-long downpour washed out most of the third round of the BMW Russian Open to leave some players facing the prospect of having to squeeze in 35 holes on the final day.

A day-long downpour washed out most of the third round of the BMW Russian Open to leave some players facing the prospect of having to squeeze in 35 holes on the final day.

The first group teed off in showers and the weather worsened as the day progressed with greens becoming waterlogged to such an extent tournament officials had no choice but to halt play at 1.20pm local time (10.20 Irish time).

There was absolutely no prospect of the players getting back out on the Le Meridien Moscow Country Club course and when officials finally conceded defeat at 5.20pm, it left them with a logistical nightmare.

They have decided to restart at 7.30am local time (4.30am BST) tomorrow and both rounds will be played in the same groups, meaning there will be no draw for the fourth round.

Tournament director Jose Maria Zamora said they had given the players every chance to finish their rounds today but when it became impossible they had to find a way to ensure they had the best chance of completing the competition.

“It started raining at 7am and it has been persistent rain for the whole day and at 1.20pm we had to suspend play because the golf course was unplayable - fairways and greens were flooded,” he explained.

“After waiting for exactly four hours we reached the decision that the course will be unplayable today so play has to be abandoned for the rest of the day.

“We are going to keep the same draw for tomorrow, therefore we are able to start the fourth round at 8am, that will mean the last match will tee off roughly around 1.30pm and by 6pm we will be able to finish the tournament – if the weather helps obviously.

“The only way to have a bigger chance of finishing four rounds is keeping the same matches. We can save three hours and, seeing the conditions, that is going to be very important.”

Joint leaders at 10 under, Kariem Baraka and Henrik Nystrom, will now have to play one hole short of two rounds tomorrow – if the course recovers sufficiently and there is no more rain.

Austrian Markus Brier and Scot Euan Little, on nine under, also had time for only one hole and will face a tough task to maintain their elevated positions.

By the time the suspension came only 22 of the 70 players in the field had completed their rounds.

Best of those was by Sweden’s Johan Skold, who had four birdies in 11 holes before dropping shots on 12 and 14 but clawing one back on the 15th to finish with a three-under-par 69 and move to five under for the tournament.

Dorset’s Gary Emerson moved into a tie for third place on nine under after a birdie three at the first, his only hole before the suspension.

An eagle three for Southport’s Lee Slattery at the second lifted him into a share of sixth place at eight under after three holes.

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