Golf

More issues at a pro golf tournament in South Africa — this time it's another torrential downpour

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It’s been another difficult week for a professional tournament abroad — this time at the South African Open, held at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.

Last week, the DP World Tour — formally known as the European Tour — was scheduled to kick off its 2021-22 season at the Joburg Open, but experts from the World Health Organization met to assess a COVID-19 variant in South Africa that has been rapidly spreading among young people and had already spawned numerous mutations, according to a story by USA TODAY.

The variant has been dubbed “omicron” and classified a “variant of concern,” the most worrying type by the WHO and one of the first indicators that it is worth considering as an increased threat. The tournament was nearly canceled and then a rough week of weather finally halted it at the midpoint, as Thriston Lawrence was given the trophy after just 36 holes.

This week, an impressive field stuck to commitments and arrived at the SA Open Championship, including PGA Tour players Garrick Higgo, Dylan Frittelli, and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Before play began a number of players were forced from the field as Dylan Mostert, Teaghan Gauche, Siyanda Mwandla, and Darren Fichardt all tested positive for COVID.

Then on Saturday, during the third round of play, a dramatic thunderstorm rolled through the area, bringing some intense, wet weather.

Due to the weather, organizers couldn’t fit in the end of the third round, and although the plan is to get players out early Sunday before cranking up the final round, another rainy day is expected for the region.

Justin Harding, who has a pair of victories on the European Tour, is currently in the lead at 11 under while Daniel van Tonder and Oliver Bekker trail by a single stroke.

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