After a sunny pro-am day at the picturesque island venue, which is over 700m above sea level, fog came in before the first round could start and remained all afternoon.
As a result, tournament officials were forced to suspend the beginning of The European Tour’s 1,500th event at 5:00pm local time. Round one will now begin on Friday with tee times unchanged from Thursday.
José Maria Zamora, The European Tour’s Tournament Director, said: “We have abandoned play today because five of the holes have been unplayable all day due to the fog.
“Basically, 13 holes of the holes have been playable for much of the day but five of the holes higher up the mountain – one, nine, ten, 11 and 18 – have had no visibility all day.
“The decision to call it at 5:00pm was taken because the players have been sitting in the clubhouse for more than ten hours and it looked like it the fog was going to remain for the rest of the day. There is a point where the guys get tired so it’s best that they get back to their hotels and start afresh tomorrow.”
Guy Nestor, The European Tour’s official on-site meteorologist, said that while some fog had been expected on Thursday morning, it stayed longer than expected, but the weather will improve this week.
“We expected today’s fog to hang around until around noon,” he said. “But for it to last this long into the afternoon was a little unexpected. But as the day went on there was a bit of an inversion plus some more cloud cover coming in from the north east, so there were a lot of variables that caused the issue here today.
“It can be tricky forecasting up here at the top of this mountain in Madeira but we’ve come here in the past and anytime you get a north-easterly wind and high pressure to the north west, which is what we got, it allows for some colder air to move in higher up, while it warms up at the bottom. That’s how you get the fog up here.
“Tomorrow morning, I do expect some fog in the morning but the one thing that will help tomorrow is that I do see some clearing of cloud cover, so that should allow for the sun to move through and heat the surface up and that will hopefully lift any fog.
“Saturday and Sunday I expect more sunshine. Some clouds will come through at times but I expect it to be very different to what we had today.”
|T3||GARCIA PINTO, Jordi||ESP||18||-6|