Heavy winds stifle first round in Madeira

Santo Antonio da Serra, Madeira (SportsNetwork.com) - Round one of the Madeira Islands Open was unable to get underway due to heavy winds on Thursday and play was officially suspended around 10:20 a.m. ET.

Due to the suspension of play without a single player teeing off for round one, the tournament has been cut to 54 holes, with a cut coming after 36 holes at Santo da Serra Golf Club.

Gusts reached 47 mph and the wind was consistently over 35 mph throughout most of the day. Golf balls were having trouble staying in one spot on the greens due to the heavy gusts.

"We have not started the first round due to the very strong winds we have suffered for the whole day today," tournament director Jose Maria Zamora said. "Every time we sent our referees to check, the balls were moving on the green. The players have been waiting in the players' lounge now for up to eight hours, so the best option is to send them back and start fresh tomorrow."

The first- and second-round tee times will both remain the same. The first groups are scheduled to go off at 3:50 a.m. ET for Friday's and Saturday's rounds.

This is the second consecutive year this tournament has been shortened. The 2014 event was cut to 36 holes due to heavy fog throughout the week. First- round play did not conclude until Sunday morning, with the second and final round finishing up later in the day last year.