Rain forces Monday finish at Aussie PGA

Peter Senior

COOLUM, Australia – The final round of the Australian PGA Championship was postponed until Monday because of heavy rain, with Peter Senior holding a one-stroke lead after nine holes.

The round was called off Sunday about 3 hours after play was suspended. Officials said more than 2 inches of rain fell on the course overnight, and the players that did manage to get out were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls on the fairways.

American Bobby Gates, the third-round leader by a stroke, bogeyed two holes in a row to fall out of the lead just before play was halted. He was tied for second with Australian Peter Fowler after nine holes.

There are 24 golfers still to play when the round resumes early Monday morning.

“We’ve been out to inspect the course, and it’s now in worse shape than when we suspended play,” said Andrew Langford-Jones, director of tournaments for the PGA of Australia.

Senior leads at 12-under par after he and Fowler both finished 1 under on the day.

Trailing Fowler and Gates by a stroke were last week’s Australian Open champion, Geoff Ogilvy, and fellow Australian Richard Green, playing in the same group after completing 13 holes. They were tied with Australian Matthew Griffin, who had played 14 holes, and countryman Andrew Stolz, who played 11.

Gates, playing the Coolum course for the first time, tried to be diplomatic when play was called despite a tough officiating decision that had forced him to hit an awkward shot out of a bunker that was nearly flooded by rain. He ended up bogeying the hole.

“I’ve never played where it’s gotten to this point before, but I understand they want to try to get it in,” he said during the rain delay. “The greens are a little tricky, some faster than others, but it’s just another challenge.”

Senior, who said he thought Gates got a bad decision on his bunker shot, said the last three holes that he and Gates played were extremely difficult, and “the 10th tee was actually under water when we got there.”

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