The Open 2015 live: Latest score as R&A announce Monday finish with play suspended on Saturday due to high winds

He looked like the man to beat, which was all too clear to Jordan Spieth - he was playing next to him

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The Independent Online

The decision to extend the Open Championship to finish on a Monday for only the second time in its history came as a relief to the R&A.

High winds on Saturday morning forced players trying to finish their second rounds after Friday's rain delay off the course, just 32 minutes after a 7am resumption at St Andrews.

With no prospect of play until at least 4pm, organisers had no option but to take the 144th Open into a fifth day for the first time since 1988, when Seve Ballesteros won his third Claret Jug after a rain-affected event.

 

"When we considered every possibility we felt the best conclusion was to accept a Monday finish gives us the best answer," said R&A director of rules and equipment standards, David Rickman.

"Playing two-tee starts here is not easy. We did it last year (on the Saturday at Royal Liverpool, to avoid incoming weather) but we felt those were exceptional circumstances.

"Our preferences were to maintain the tradition of a one-tee start. When we started to do the maths, the Monday finish was the best answer.

"In a strange way it is maybe a relief to have taken the decision to go to a Monday.

"It gives us a degree of control and clarity - even if that gives everyone a series of consequential challenges.

"We could do (36 holes) but we would be looking at two-tee starts and have to put those arrangements in place overnight.

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"We would be playing morning till night, finishing in the dark - which in some ways worked last night with Tom Watson - but it would mean having the Champion golfer of the Year trophy presented in near-darkness after a long and difficult day.

"We are comfortable this is the right decision for the championship."

St-Andrews1.jpgBefore preparations for the final two days - a cut still has to be made - can begin, the remaining 39 players have to complete their rounds.

That is still dependent on the winds, which were gusting at 45mph on Saturday morning and moving balls on the green which forced the postponement, but Rickman remains optimistic they will get back on track.

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A seagull is blown away in the wind

"Four o'clock is our best-case scenario, but before we go out and try to start at four we need to see a meaningful reduction in wind speeds," he told ESPN.

"We know it is coming but if it is not in place I will make a decision an hour before and we could push it back. We could go at five o'clock, six o'clock.

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There was little to watch for fans at St Andrews

"My greatest sympathy is with the players and spectators who have had to be patient on a frustrating day.

"Depending on the cut we will look to finish at our traditional times, with possibly a slightly earlier finish on Monday.

"It will be a traditional last two days for the Open, albeit a day later than planned."

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Dustin Johnson speaks with officials after his ball is blown off the green

Among those still to finish their rounds are Dustin Johnson, who held the overnight lead on 10 under before he bogeyed the 14th to drop back into a tie with Yorkshire's Danny Willett when he failed to mark his ball quickly enough on Saturday morning and it blew off the green, and fellow American Jordan Spieth, who is a further five shots back chasing the third leg of an unprecedented single-season grand slam.

 

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