Ryder Cup resumes at rain soaked Celtic Manor

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The Independent Online

European captain Colin Montgomerie has already resigned himself to the Ryder Cup being extended into Monday for the first time in its 83-year history.

Heavy rain forced play to be suspended at 9:45am on the opening morning at Celtic Manor, with the home side ahead in three of the four fourball matches but with many parts of the Twenty Ten course under water.

And it took until late in the afternoon until tournament officials were able to announce that play would resume at 5pm, a delay of seven and a quarter hours.

"I don't think we have any more rain left and it might even brighten up considerably," European Tour chief referee John Paramor said.

However, earlier in the day Montgomerie had said play would need to restart at 1:45pm to allow the contest to finish as scheduled on Sunday evening, but even as he spoke it was announced that a decision on a possible resumption had been put back to 2pm at the earliest.

"We have to start at 1:45pm because that would be four hours lost and we can make up the four hours on Sunday morning," Montgomerie had been in the process of explaining.

"If we don't start at 1:45 we are not finishing on Sunday. That's the way it's looking right now."

Only 14 holes had been completed across the four matches before play had been suspended, with Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer two up on Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the first match after five.

Westwood, playing his first competitive round since August 6 after a calf injury, birdied the second and saved par from a saturated bunker on the fourth to win that hole as well.

In match two, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy were one up on Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar after four holes, Cink having birdied the second but the home pair winning the first and fourth with par.

Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher were also one up on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in match three, Woods having got the Americans back level with a birdie on the second but Poulter responding with a 25ft birdie of his own on the third.

US captain Corey Pavin had sprung a surprise by putting rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton out in the final match, but Overton responded by holing from off the green at the first for a birdie and Watson birdied the second to put the American pair two up on Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.

When play finally resumed, Westwood and Kaymer were gifted the sixth hole by Mickelson and Johnson to go three up.

Kaymer was out of the hole having driven into water and Westwood was in rough to the right of the fairway while their opponents were both in ideal position.

But after Westwood hit a superb shot to seven feet, Mickelson pulled his approach into the water surrounding the green and Johnson three-putted for bogey, meaning Westwood's par was good enough.

If Westwood was almost playing that match single-handedly, Cink was doing the same in match two, holing from 50ft across the fifth green for birdie to get back on level terms against McIlroy and McDowell.