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Friday, 03 February 2012
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano  (Getty Images)
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Getty Images)

Gusts of 45mph meant less than three hours' play was possible on the second day of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy - and the second leg of The European Tour's Middle East swing has now been cut to 54 holes.

It was decided to call off play for the day at 2pm and announced soon afterwards by tournament director David Probyn that the sponsors did not want the event to extend into Monday.

Many of the players are also entered for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic next week, but American Hunter Mahan - one over par after six holes of his second round - is heading back to California for the Pebble Beach Pro-am.

"The course is still on the verge of playable, but there's no point sending the guys out for an hour or two on a marginal course," Probyn said.

"The winds will be down a notch tomorrow and decreasing during the day, while the forecast for Sunday is for much calmer conditions."

Play is scheduled to resume at 8.45am tomorrow - it was 6.30am on the first two days - and the aim is to complete the second round by the end of the day and then stage the third round on Sunday.

American John Daly was among those who did not hit a shot, but the 45 year old ranked 543rd in the Official World Golf Ranking moved into the lead when Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño bogeyed two of his first five holes before the suspension came just before 9.15am.

Former Open Champion Daly, chasing his first victory for eight years, goes into the weekend five under par, while Fernandez-Castaño, who won the Barclays Singapore Open in November when that event was trimmed to three rounds because of thunderstorms, is a stroke behind along with Korean K J Choi and Australian Jason Day.

Choi was another who did not have to play, while Day's six opening pars mean he has still to record a bogey in the tournament.

Lee Westwood's day began well with a birdie on the 11th, but he double-bogeyed the next and when he ran up a five on the 410 yard 14th he was one over and only joint 48th along with Graeme McDowell, who had bogeyed the 11th and birdied the 14th.

Despite the conditions Ireland's Damien McGrane went to the turn in a five under 31, but he had started with a 78 and so was still only one over, while four birdies in six holes by South African Branden Grace, twice a winner already this season, lifted him into a tie for 15th on one under.

Officials were close to deciding on a 12.15pm restart, but then the gusts went up again and that was too much to keep balls still on the greens.

Fernandez-Castaño, with a chance to go top of the Ryder Cup points table by winning, said: "It was windy when we went out and I had a few birdie chances, but then I bogeyed two holes into the wind.

"I hope tomorrow I can take advantage of the remaining ten holes I have. I didn't have any balls moving, but certain shots you could hardly keep balanced. Being selfish I'm quite happy play was called off."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-15
T2DAY, JasonAUS18-11
T2HANSON, PeterSWE18-11
4DALY, JohnUSA18-9
T5GONNET, Jean-BaptisteFRA18-8
T5HANSEN, SorenDEN18-8
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