A storm is brewing at St Andrews as Dustin Johnson tops leaderboard

American Dustin Johnson birdied the 18th hole to take the outright lead on 10 under par at the Open Championship on Saturday after a marathon 10-hour, 28 minute delay because of high winds.

A sound man hands United States’ Tiger Woods his score card after it blew away in the wind during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Saturday, July 18, 2015. Play was suspended on Saturday as high winds caused players golf balls to move on some greens. When play resumes on Sunday it will be without Woods, who at 7 over did not make the cut. Jon Super / AP Photo
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St Andrews // American Dustin Johnson birdied the 18th hole to take the outright lead on 10 under par at the Open Championship on Saturday after a marathon 10-hour, 28 minute delay because of high winds.

Johnson was one of 39 players who resumed their rounds at 7am local time and dropped a shot at the 14th before play was halted as the winds picked up strength.

Danny Willett, who is bidding to become the first Englishman since Nick Faldo in 1992 to win the Open, is alone in second on nine under and one shot back, while Scotland’s 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie holds third spot a further stroke back after completing his round without dropping a shot.

Texan history seeker Jordan Spieth missed a crucial short putt for par at the tough 17th before driving the green at the par four 18th and two-putting for birdie to remain where he began the day on five under.

Spieth is bidding to become only the second man, after Ben Hogan in 1953, to win the first three majors of the season.

“This morning when we started it was almost impossible, but I managed to hang in there and then when we just went out and restarted it was very tough, but managed to make some good pars and then birdie the last hole,” Johnson said. “So it was a good way to finish the day.”

Asked about the incident on the 14th, where his ball was blown down a slope towards that of playing partner Spieth, Johnson said: “Fortunately it happened in kind of the end part of the second round, so we’ve still got a lot of golf to play, so it is what it is. Can’t do anything to change it.

“When I went up to mark it I got probably an inch from the ground. My coin was about to hit the ground when it took off. Then I went to mark it again and I think it took off again, and then Jordan was running to his ball. It was pretty funny.”

Four players are locked on seven under and completed their second rounds on Friday including former world No 1 Adam Scott of Australia, Americans Zach Johnson and Robert Streb, and Scottish hope Marc Warren.

The decision to extend the Open Championship to finish on a Monday for only the second time in its history came as a relief to the R&A.

The high winds Saturday morning forced players, trying to finish their second rounds after Friday’s rain delay, off the course just 32 minutes after the 7am ­resumption.

With no prospect of play until 6pm, organisers had no option but to take the 144th Open into a fifth day for the first time since 1988, when Seve Ballesteros won his third Claret Jug after a rain-affected event.

“When we considered every possibility we felt the best conclusion was to accept a Monday finish gives us the best answer,” said R&A director of rules and equipment standards, David Rickman.

“Playing two-tee starts here is not easy. We did it last year (on the Saturday at Royal Liverpool, to avoid incoming weather) but we felt those were exceptional circumstances.

“Our preferences were to maintain the tradition of a one-tee start. When we started to do the maths, the Monday finish was the best answer.

“In a strange way it is maybe a relief to have taken the decision to go to a Monday.

“It gives us a degree of control and clarity – even if that gives everyone a series of consequential challenges.

“We could do (36 holes) but we would be looking at two-tee starts and have to put those arrangements in place overnight.

“We would be playing morning till night, finishing in the dark – which in some ways worked last night with Tom Watson – but it would mean having the champion golfer of the year trophy presented in near darkness after a long and difficult day.

“We are comfortable this is the right decision for the ­championship.”

Play finally got under way with just those groups who were still to finish their second rounds heading out when play resumed at 6pm.

It meant a long day of sitting around for players and the thousands of spectators

“My greatest sympathy is with the players and spectators who have had to be patient on a frustrating day,” Rickman said.

“Depending on the cut we will look to finish at our traditional times, with possibly a slightly earlier finish on Monday.

“It will be a traditional last two days for the Open, albeit a day later than planned.”

In the short time that play was possible in the morning, leader Johnson fluffed his chip to the 15th green and dropped a shot to slip back to nine under.

Playing partner Spieth stayed at five under as he continued his quest for a third straight major title after his wins at the Masters and the US Open.

“We should never have started,” Jordan Spieth was heard muttering as he was informed of the decision by a R&A official.

There were complaints also from other players over the decision to even start play with the wind so punishing.

On some greens the ball was continually buffeted and often moved before the player could putt.

When play finally began the Old Course was spectacular in the evening light and was almost benign on what developed into a delightful Scottish summer evening, albeit a little cold.

The cut was finally set at even par leaving 80 players to do battle over the final two days.

Among those to miss the cut was the 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, who shot a 75 on Saturday to finish with an aggregate 151, seven over par.

It was the second major championship in a row where he had missed playing on the weekend, another first in his career .

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