MX23RW : Friday, January 18 02:04:03

Rain delays Masters practice at Augusta by two hours

Heavy rain and the threat of lightning forces Masters organisers to halt practice sessions on the eve of the tournament's start date.

Practice rounds at The Masters have been pushed back a couple of hours due to lightning and heavy rain on the eve of the tournament's 81st edition getting underway.

Organisers were left with little choice but to evacuate the course at 10am local time, which could also affect the traditional pre-tournament Par 2 contest.

As well as seeing matters on the course disrupted, flights to the closest major airport have also been temporary halted, with severe weather forecast for a number of Southern States.

The weather is due to improve slightly in the early afternoon but more rain, as well as winds of up to 60mph, has been predicted for later in the day.

A statement released by Masters organisers read: "The warm front is moving through Augusta with rain and thunderstorms to the west. The front lifts to the north and will allow for a break in the weather with sun peeking through the clouds.

"But the sunshine will further destabilise the atmosphere and lead to additional thunderstorm development towards the middle part of the afternoon.

"Thunderstorms are expected to become severe and conditions will be favourable for heavy rain, frequent lightning, hail, damaging winds of 40-60mph, and tornadoes."

Tuesday saw the announcement of the pairings for the opening rounds, with defending champion Danny Willett playing alongside Matt Kuchar and Curtis Luck.


Click here for more stories about Danny Willett

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Rory McIlroy squats to line up a shot during the first round of The Masters on April 7, 2016
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