Spirit shortened to 54 holes

Organisers at the Spirit International were forced to shorten this year’s championship to 54 holes following more than 160mm rainfall at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Wednesday’s first round.

Although the course generally drains very well, several holes were still waterlogged on Thursday morning, forcing director of agronomy Michael Dieckhoff and his 43-man staff back to the course for more damage control.

The first round, which was suspended shortly after play got underway on Wednesday, resumed late on Thursday. Although the Spirit has been plagued with heavy rains so far, the forecast for Friday and Saturday calls for sunny skies, no precipitation and temperatures in the mid-70s.

Tournament director Eric said the goal is to have 36 holes completed by Friday evening.

“We think the worst is over and Friday and Saturday should be beautiful,” Fredricksen said. “If we can get through two rounds on Friday, we can have a comfortable final round of 18 holes on Saturday.”

The biennial Spirit International is a combined best ball event contested by the top 20 golfing countries in the golf, as determined by the combined men’s and women’s results from the 2012 World Team Amateur Championships.

Each participating country sends its top two men and women amateurs along with a captain.

SA number one Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Louis Taylor represent the men’s competition, while Kim Williams and Lara Weinstein are flying the flag for South Africa in the women’s competition.

The players simultaneously compete in five separate events.

Gold, silver and bronze medals are at stake in the International Team Division, as well as the Men’s and Women’s Divisions. The Men’s and Women’s Individual champions.

The winner of the Men’s Individual competition will receive a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2014 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

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