Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger today made a good start to the defence of his title before bad weather forced play to be suspended in the Ballantine’s Championship.
Wiesberger was three under par after 13 holes of his first round when heavy rain and poor visibility brought play to a halt at Blackstone Golf Club.
Starting from the 10th, the 27-year-old from Vienna birdied the 11th, 15th and 18th to be out in 33 and, after a bogey on the first, picked up another shot on the fourth.
“Unfortunately we have a weather delay,” Wiesberger wrote on Twitter. “Too much Fog for the elevated Tees! Playing good, looking forward to get out again asap!!”
Sweden’s Johan Edfors was at the top of the leaderboard on five under after 10 holes, with Scotland’s Marc Warren two under at the same stage of his round as he looked to bounce back from his late collapse in the Spanish Open on Sunday.
Wiesberger won by five shots last year and has some lofty ambitions after a subsequent triumph on home soil saw him finish 22nd in the Race to Dubai and reach as high as 64th in the world rankings.
He said: “Before winning here last year I never really paid too much attention to the world rankings, so that was definitely a change.
“I want to progress further up the rankings and get myself into a position where I can perform and play at the highest level, and that is the major championships, the WGC events and the top events all over the world where you can compete against the top players.
“Unfortunately I’ve dropped a little bit down the ranking in the last couple of weeks (he is currently 84th), but I think my form is improving now and I’ve managed to climb a couple of spots and hopefully I can get myself into the bigger events.
“I’ll just try to improve my golf game on a daily basis and give myself chances to win tournaments, and if I can do it more often, hopefully I can progress into the top 20 or even top 10 of the world ranking – that would be a good goal for me to set.”
Play resumed at 1pm local time after a delay of two hours and 10 minutes, Edfors quickly dropping his first shot of the day on the 11th.
At four under par he was now in a tie for the lead with France’s Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez and Finn Mikko Ilonen, with England’s David Howell, Ireland’s Peter Lawrie and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher all a shot further back.
Wiesberger had also resumed with a bogey to lie two off the lead on two under.