Rain-hit SA Open reduced to 17-hole tournament

Heavy rain has forced organizers to take a hole out of play for

the marathon final day of the European Tour’s South African


The downpour early Sunday left the green on the par-3 fourth

waterlogged and players will play only 17 holes in their final two

rounds at Durban Country Club – where the course has been reduced

to a par-69.

Rain had already delayed the 100th version of the event.

The European Tour and South Africa’s co-sanctioning Sunshine

Tour said the unusual decision to eliminate a hole was not

unprecedented, pointing to two occasions at the Dutch Open in the

late 1960s when anti-apartheid protesters had dug up a green and

the event was played over 17 holes.

Four-time winner Ernie Els has a two-shot lead over Retief

Goosen going into the final day.