DOHA, Qatar, March 13 (UPI) -- The opening round of the European Tour's Qatar Open was suspended Thursday due to a sandstorm.
South African James Kingston, the first man out, was leading the field at 3-under after 13 holes when visibility was cut to about 100 yards in places. The players were called off the course ater 3 1/2 hours of play.
The local Shamal wind normally only blows hard in the afternoon, but it was there for the start of this event.
Few big-name players were in a field that was hit by 50 withdrawals because of the possibility of war in Iraq.
When play was stopped, Kingston was one shot in front of England's Phil Golding, Swedes Henrik Stenson and Fredrik Andersson and Belgian Nicolas Vanhootegem.
Tournament favorite Padraig Harrington was among the later starters, as was fellow Dubliner Paul McGinley, who was diagnosed with pneumonia earlier in the week and withdrew from Wednesday's pro-am after nine holes because he was feeling unwell in the 100-degree heat.