The Portugal Masters has been reduced to 54 holes after heavy rain caused lengthy delays in Vilamoura yesterday with only six players, including leader Alexander Levy, completing their second rounds.
Some players came into the day yet to complete their opening rounds after a downpour ended play early on Thursday, and the start of the second round was also delayed in the morning due to more rain.
When players did get out on course, it was Frenchman Levy who made the biggest impression, playing his first 10 holes in six under par to move one shot clear of Nicolas Colsaerts at the top of the leaderboard before the rain came again.
Play eventually got back under way at 5.45pm but it was clear almost half the field would be unable to even start their second rounds and the decision was made to reduce the tournament to 54 holes shortly after.
Once back out on the course, Levy picked up where he left off — registering four more birdies to card a 61 and finish the day on 18 under, three shots clear of Colsaerts who would have to return to complete the last two holes of his second round this morning.
Before the stoppage Levy, who started on the back nine, had flown out of the blocks with a birdie before hitting three more in a row from the 13th to the 15th — his pitch mark on 13 being within a foot of the pin. He picked up another on 17 before chipping in on the first but Colsaerts, who held a three-shot overnight lead after just missing out on a 59 on Thursday, had kept pace with him with birdies at 12 and 15 before the rain returned.
Levy was not fazed by the long break and his one-shot lead soon became three as he birdied the second while Colsaerts, who had also started on the back nine, dropped a shot on the first.
Levy recorded further birdies on five, six and nine to complete his sparkling round but former Ryder Cup player Colsaerts is made of stern stuff and picked up shots on four, five and seven to stay in touch.
The truncated nature of the tournament means that Levy will not now play again until tomorrow but the 24-year-old is glad for the rest after a marathon day.
“I will go to the gym, work a little bit and rest in my room tomorrow,” he said.
“Today was a very long day. I woke up at 6.30 and I’m finishing in the dark.
“Three times we went from the players’ lounge to the practice range. But I managed to play really good golf and I’m very happy with my game.
“I have been working on my iron shots a lot with my coach the past few weeks. And I think if you can hit it long, you have a big advantage on this golf course.”
England’s Richard Bland and Ireland’s Michael Hoey are both on 10 under and leading the chasing pack, with Bland having completed 15 holes and Hoey 12.
There was then a group of five players a further shot back, including Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Thomas Aiken who had both managed to finish their rounds.
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