Last updated: 3 February, 2012

Desert winds stops play at Qatar golf event

Play was called off at the Qatar Masters after just three hours of action as strong desert winds moved balls and made life difficult for players at Doha Golf Club on Friday.

European Tour officials said the tournament will be now played over 54 holes and finish on schedule on Sunday. With the final leg of the “Desert Swing” being held in Dubai next week it was logistically impossible to stretch the event to Monday.

Winds up to 40mph were predicted before the tournament began and the first round on Thursday was played even as a sandstorm raged over Qatar.

Officials first called off play at 9:13am local time on Friday, with the next announcement scheduled for 11.30.

However, the wind failed to ease off for three hours after that forcing officials to call off play for the day. A low pressure area over Iran was the cause of the strong winds, the weather forecast said.

Overnight leader Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had dropped two shots over the first seven holes in the second round to slip behind John Daly when tournament officials decided to stop play.

Daly, who had shot a 67 in “brutal” conditions on Thursday had complained that he had to “eat” a lot of sand and many other players were also struggling with the conditions.