Floods hit Smyth at US Senior PGA

Severe flooding has hit Des Smyth's bid for the US Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla in Kentucky.

Smyth was two under par after 17 holes for his first round and just two shots behind leaders Tom Watson and Hale Irwin when play was suspended.

The start of the tournament had already been delayed by two hours after overnight rain drenched the course.

Smyth was due to finish his first round yesterday afternoon but a powerful storm dumped 1.3 inches of rain on Valhalla late on Thursday night, forcing another postponement in play due to flooding.

Officials hoped to complete the first round last night and players who finished their first rounds of Thursday were sent home and will not begin the second round until today (Saturday).

They include Druids Glen pro Eamonn Darcy, who opened with a two over par 73.

Smyth is bidding to win his first senior major championship and put last year's US Senior PGA disappointment behind him.

Rain again delayed the event last year and while Smyth shot a 65 to grab the 54-hole lead, he finished with a 74 and had to settle for a share of fifth place.

Watson and Irwin carded four under par 67s on Thursday morning to lead in the clubhouse by one from Mike McCullough with Ireland's Mark McNulty a shot further back on 70.

He played with course designer Jack Nicklaus, who shot a 75 and announced this week that he is to retire from competitive golf "in 10 days' time".

The Golden Bear, 64, intends to play in next week's Memorial Tournament before ceasing to play "touring tournament golf".

Nicklaus said: "After the Memorial I have entered nothing. I'm interested in doing other things.

"I've had enough of golf. I absolutely die for competitive golf but I'm not competitive any more."