Golf: Rain-hit New Zealand Open goes to a fifth day

Canadian Brooke Henderson hits her second shot on the 3rd hole at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course on Sept 9, 2017. When play was eventually abandoned for the day on Oct 1 due to rain, she was three-under after six holes and 17-under for the week.
Canadian Brooke Henderson hits her second shot on the 3rd hole at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course on Sept 9, 2017. When play was eventually abandoned for the day on Oct 1 due to rain, she was three-under after six holes and 17-under for the week.PHOTO: AFP

Wellington (AFP) - Canadian Brooke Henderson held a four-stroke lead with 12 holes to play when sweeping storms on Sunday forced the New Zealand Women's Open into an unscheduled fifth day.

Golfers were forced to duck for cover in the squalls as umbrellas turned inside out and advertising hoardings swept down the fairways at the Windross Farm course in Auckland.

Play was eventually called off late in the afternoon when the violent weather stopped play for the third time.

"Play has officially been suspended for the day," the NZ Women's Open LPGA tweeted.

Five hours' play had already been lost because of the weather, forcing the tournament into an extra day on Monday, when better weather is forecast.

LPGA rules and competitions director Bo Ream said after the second rain break they were "aiming to get 72 holes" played.

"Looking at conditions, there is quite a bit of casual water and that's a concern. We want to make sure it's fair for all players. We want to get as much golf done as we can today so we have less to play first thing tomorrow."

Henderson, aiming for her fifth career victory and second title of the year, started the final round a stroke behind overnight leader Belen Mozo and hit the front with a birdie on the second hole.

When play was eventually abandoned for the day, she was three-under after six holes and 17-under for the week.

Mozo, seeking her first win on the LPGA Tour, had a tough start to her round when torrential rain flooded the course and forced a two-and-a-half hour break just after she teed off, and she bogeyed the first on her return.

She bogeyed again when play resumed after the second disruption to be two-over after six on 13-under, level with American Brittany Lincicome who was two-under for the round.

Home favourite and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko was eight off the pace in a share of ninth after completing seven holes on Sunday.