The opening round of the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI was suspended overnight and the tournament has been reduced to 54 holes after strong winds forced a day-long postponement to the start of play at Clube de Golfe do Santo da Serra.
Gusts reached 47 mph during the day and stayed steadily above 35 mph at the mountain-top venue, meaning the golf ball was moving on the green throughout the day and play could not commence.
It is another stroke of bad luck weather-wise for the tournament at the spectacular course, which enjoyed days of endless sunshine prior to the start of the 23rd edition of the Madeira Islands Open, after numerous delays caused last year’s event to be reduced to 36 holes.
Round One will tee off on Friday morning, with tee times for both of the first two rounds remaining unchanged, and the cut will be made after round two.
José Maria Zamora, Tournament Director, said: “We have not started the first round due to the very strong winds we have suffered for the whole day today.
“When we got here this morning the winds were reaching 30-35 kilometres per hour with gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour so despite the efforts we’ve made – we didn’t cut the greens for the last two days because we knew about this forecast – winds have been too strong and gusty.
“Every time we sent our referees to check, the balls were moving on the green. The players have been waiting in the players’ lounge now for up to eight hours, so the best option is to send them back and start fresh tomorrow.
“For anybody that’s been here all week this week, they will have seen that on Monday it was absolutely gorgeous, 25 degree heat and not a breath of wind, so it’s just a matter of us being very, very unlucky.
“It’s very difficult for the players to keep concentration and motivation and for a lot of players here this week, this event is one of the biggest events of the season. They’ve been very patient and they haven’t got upset at all so we thank them for that.”
The European Tour’s on-site meteorologist, Guy Nestor, explained the severity of the weather throughout the day and, while the forecast is for rainy weather on Friday, he believes that the wind is likely to calm down overnight.
“The situation is that we’ve got a strong low pressure system which is sitting off the coast of Portugal,” he said. “That is creating a tight wind gradient over the Madeira Islands, so we’ve had winds consistently in the 20-30 miles per hour range with gusts above 35 miles per hour pretty much all day.
“The highest gust we recorded was 47 miles per hour, early this morning, and as the afternoon went on we got more and more gusts above 40.
“The forecast that I called for is for those winds to increase as we get to the mid- and late-afternoon and in to the evening hours.
“The good news is that the winds will die down as we get into Friday, it’ll still be windy but as we head through the day they should decrease, considerably as we head into the weekend.
“The problem we do have on Friday is that that upper low pressure system moves closer to us and that will allow for periods of rain and even the odd thunder storm is not out of the question. So we’ll get rid of one weather element, but some others are likely to come along.”