Conditions were a battle for South African Aiken

Flooding on the first fairway as heavy rain flooded the Old Course and play was suspended. Picture Ian Rutherford
Flooding on the first fairway as heavy rain flooded the Old Course and play was suspended. Picture Ian Rutherford
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Approaching the first green in monsoon conditions at St Andrews this morning, Thomas Aiken felt like he was going to war - literally.

Aiken was part of the second group of three who actually started their round before time was called and play suspended.

The South African couldn’t quite believe that play was being allowed to begin after being caught up in the torrential downpour shortly before 7.00am.

“It was like D-Day,” he said after arriving back in the clubhouse following a decent 69.

“When we got to the range I was like ‘are you serious? are we really going out in this?’.

“We hit a tee shot but we couldn’t even putt on the putting green.

“The first group were all on the green awaiting a ruling and I thought they were going to call us off before we teed off.

“But they waited for us to hit our balls and then called us back into the clubhouse.”

Mercifully the rain stopped not long after 9.00am with bright skies and light winds replacing the unwelcome downpour.

The incredible effort of the Old Course greenkeepers meant the course was quickly sponged up and decent scoring could continue.

And Aiken benefited from the condition of the course, going on to end his two rounds on even par.

It leaves him in with a shout of making the cut and, if the forecasted heavy winds arrive later this afternoon, it may well help his cause further if strokes are dropped.

“It was supposed to pick up around 5.00p.m. and I think I need that if I’m to have a chance,” he conceded.

“We’ll see.

“This golf course is very forgiving off the tee, but the wind direction makes everything, and tends to change quite a lot.

“Fingers crossed I get lucky.”