Peter Fowler’s progress was halted by heavy rain in the second round of ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship, with the tournament reduced to 54 holes at De Vere Slaley Hall in Northumberland, England, due to a waterlogged course.
After a level par opening round 72, the Australian began his second round on the tenth tee of the Hunting Course and birdied the 11th, 12th and 15th holes to move to three under par.
He then carded six consecutive pars before play was suspended at 10.55am due to the course being flooded, with Fowler through 12 holes.
The continued rain meant that the players were unable to return to the course on Friday, and the tournament was reduced to 54 holes with the second round due to resume at 7.30am on Saturday. The afternoon groups will begin at 8.30am and the field will then be cut to the top 60 players and ties, with the third and final round schedule to take place on Sunday.
“It’s always a bit frustrating when you are going well and you have to stop,” said Fowler, who celebrates his 53rd birthday tomorrow.
“On the 11th hole I got up and down from 60 yards after two good shots, then on 12 I chipped it to three foot and on 15 I hit a nice eight iron to 15feet and hole the putt. So it was a nice start and I was playing solid. I was keen to carry on but the forecast wasn’t good.”
The 2011 European Senior Tour Order of Merit winner has had a relatively slow start to his defence of the John Jacobs Trophy compared to his sublime form of last year, with a share of 16th place in the Mallorca Senior Open his only top 20 finish so far.
That is largely due to his pre-season preparations being ruined by injury, with the 1993 BMW International Open winner only having three weeks of practice under his belt before the first Senior Tour event in Mallorca last month.
“As I was recovering from one knee operation in January the other one snapped and I had to have an op on that one too,” said Fowler. “So I’ve had a pretty poor run. The most recent one was worse than the other one ever was. It’s no problem hitting golf balls, it’s just walking.
“I didn’t play much because of the knee. I hadn’t walked a round between December and the start of the season, so fitness wise it has been a slow start.”
Fowler was joint third in last year’s ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship and his three birdies moved him two shots behind first round leader Mark James, who was among the players who had been due to start their second rounds on Friday afternoon.
James posted his fourth consecutive round of 67 in tournament play to take a one shot lead over fellow Englishman Bob Cameron, who was also due to tee off in the afternoon groups.
Former Ryder Cup Captain James, who was joint runner up in last week’s Benahavis Senior Masters, will begin his second round alongside Anders Forsbrand and Sam Torrance at 8.50am on Saturday.