World Cup team-mates Paul Casey and Justin Rose experienced contrasting fortunes before bad weather disrupted the third round of the £500,000 Dunhill Championship in South Africa. Casey made the most of his last-hole heroics on Friday to card a 65 this morning and climb back into the top 10, while Rose saw his hopes of successfully defending his title evaporate.
Rose finished in style by chipping in for an eagle on the 18th, but could only card a 70 for a six-under total of 210, seven shots off the lead. Despite playing his last six holes in four under par, the 22-year-old knew there were too many players ahead of him for him to have a chance of claiming the £79,000 first prize.
"But there is still a lot to play for in terms of world ranking points and prize money for the Order of Merit, which could make a difference at the end of the year," he said.
He and Casey were at least able to complete their rounds before storm clouds gathered over the Houghton suburbs to force the rest of the field off the course. With thunder rumbling and the threat of lightning, play was suspended at 2.25pm local time, with leader Bradley Dredge surveying an eight-foot par putt on the ninth.
Play resumed at 4pm, a delay of 95 minutes, and Dredge held his nerve to hole out for par, only to see South African Bradford Vaughan birdie the 12th to join him at the top of the leaderboard on 13 under par. But only five minutes of play was possible before the weather deteriorated, forcing the players off the field again.
Dredge and Vaughan headed the field with Denmark's Anders Hansen a shot behind and Sheffield's Mark Roe, playing alongside Dredge, another shot back. By this stage, Casey had been safely back in his hotel for several hours after completing his 65 before the leaders had teed off. Casey carded an opening 67 on Thursday but was seven over par after 15 holes of his second round on Friday, and at two over for the tournament looked certain to miss the halfway cut.
The 25-year-old needed to play the final three holes in three under par to make the cut on the mark of one under, and after a birdie on the 16th and par on 17, came to the last needing an eagle. The former amateur star found the green on the 531-yard par five in two and duly converted his eagle putt from 10 feet to complete a remarkable escape. And he carried on from where he left off with his last six holes being played in seven under.
The weather eventually forced play to be abandoned for the day, meaning an early start for those players yet to finish, followed by a break before the start of the final round – weather permitting.
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