Australian Open First Round Cancelled


CHELTENHAM, Australia -- The first round of the Australian Open was cancelled Thursday as unplayable greens at Victoria Golf Club forced officials to stop the first round.
Players will play 18 holes Friday and Saturday with a 36-hole finale scheduled for Sunday.
The greens were slick due to a combination of drought conditions, weather and the cutting of greens. At the third hole, the group of Bob Shearer, Mark Allan and Richard Ball complained that they were unable to putt out. Tournament officials stopped play and after attempts at watering four greens proved worthless, it was decided that play would wait until Friday and nothing from Thursday's action would count.
'We acted in the best interests of the players today,' said Australian Golf Union Chief Executive Officer Colin Phillips.
John Senden was the only player under par for the tournament. He birdied the first hole before play was halted.
Stuart Appleby, the 2001 champion, struggled to a three-over 73 and knew that trouble was looming.
'If it kept on like that the cut would end up being 15-over no problem,' said Appleby. 'The people involved need to take responsibility for what's happened. They've played with the snake that is Victoria and they've been bitten.'
Rich Beem, the reigning PGA Champion, stated that the conditions were almost laughable.
'I think we're all laughing, we're all quite amused.' Beem, who only completed two holes on Thursday. 'Seems to me that nobody from the rules committee had stepped on the greens.'