‘Fairways become flumes’ – Storm-lashed 2022 Players Championship golf set for Monday finish at saturated Sawgrass

England’s Tommy Fleetwood did not hit a shot of his second round on Friday, but continues to hold a share of the lead alongside America duo Tom Hoge and Brice Garnett, who has five holes remaining of his opening round.

Play was abandoned at 3pm (8pm GMT) on Friday and will not resume before 11am (4pm) on Saturday with a further deluge expected overnight and strong winds also forecast in the local area.

47 players of the 144-man field have still to complete their respective first rounds as some drenched fans opted to turn the fairways into flumes amid the ongoing rain delays.

“We are very confident at this point – we’re into a Monday finish,” said Players Championship chief referee Gary Young.

“We know that. If our calculations on everything hold together and we’re able to start tomorrow, we certainly expect to be finished with the championship on Monday.”

Over five hours of play was lost on Thursday to inclement weather conditions and only four hours of play was possible on Friday after firstly being suspended around 11:15 am (4:15pm GMT) with the threat of lightning overhead.

2019 winner Rory McIlroy is one over with three holes remaining of his first round. He enjoyed two early birdies starting from the third hole only to suffer three bogeys as the incessant rain washed out the faint prospect of a full day’s play.

His playing partners fared slightly better with defending champion Justin Thomas at two under after picking up three shots and Open champion Collin Morikawa at level par.

The top 65 players and ties will make the cut for the final two rounds with the third round not expected to be completed until Monday, the first time the $20m PGA Tour flagship event has required a fifth day due to adverse weather since 2005 when 48-year-old Fred Funk became its oldest winner.