Hansen closes on Kitayama as winds force halt in Oman

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Denmark’s J B Hansen closed on the leaders in the Oman Open before the second round was suspended because of high winds, on Friday. Picture by GETTY IMAGES

DENMARK’S Joachim B Hansen, winner of the European Challenge Tour Rankings in 2018, drew level with first-round leader Kurt Kitayama at the Oman Open as the second round in Muscat was suspended due to high winds.

The Dane completed 16 holes at Al Mouj Golf before play was suspended, due to winds gusting up to 40mph, at 11:38am local time.

Hansen was six-under par with just the eighth and ninth holes left to play. America’s overnight leader Kitayama was level par for his round through 13 holes.

Playing in the first group of the morning, Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer completed his second round before the suspension, posting a two-under 70 to join Scott Jamieson and Yusaku Miyazato, who are yet to tee off, in a share of third place on five-under.

Kieffer said: “It’s a decent score in these conditions. It’s not playing very easy. It was windy and getting gusty too.

“The pins are difficult on firm greens, so I’m pleased with two under today.

“The greens are quite exposed, so you have to take the slope and the wind into account. Putts can be quite difficult into a crosswind.

“It was a day where you needed to have the right feel for how the ball was going to react, and I had a pretty good feeling today.

“I played awesome golf for the first 11 holes. I didn’t really miss a shot and holed three putts for birdie. I played really, really well.

“I have to be happy with my position. I did leave a few out on the back nine. I had two silly three-putts and a poor iron shot on 17, it could have been two or three better. Looking at the big picture, it’s a good position to be in.”

Tournament director Miguel Vidaor said: “There were light winds in the morning coming from the north-east and suddenly, at approximately 11am, we experienced a sandstorm with winds between 15 and 25mph blowing from the south-west, with gusts between 30 and 40mph.

“Widespread movement of balls on the front-nine greens occurred at 11:38, which is when play was suspended.

“We continued to monitor the situation, but the wind did not subside in the afternoon and the decision was made to suspend play for the day. We will resume the second round at 7.40am on Saturday morning.”

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, Chile’s Hugo Leon and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti moved into sixth place on four-under with eight, six and three holes left to play respectively.

The second round will resume at 07:40 local time on Saturday morning, with the third round beginning no earlier than 13:45.


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