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Winds of change shake St. Andrews

Fierce wind wreaked more havoc than any player Friday at the British Open, even causing a rare weather delay.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen avoided the first wind delay at an Open since 1998, posting a 5-under 67 during the morning. He then watched from his hotel as others stumbled in the blustery conditions and handed him a five-shot lead.

Oosthuizen (WUHST'-hy-zen), whose given name is Lodewicus Theodorus, is at 12-under 132 at the midway point of the tournament. He was done before first-round leader Rory McIlroy, 21, teed off.

That's when flags flapped wildly, caps blew down the fairways and there were 80s all over the scoreboard, including one by McIlroy's name.

Officials decided the Old Course was unplayable because of wind gusts to 41mph, causing balls to wobble on some exposed greens. Play was suspended for 1hour, 5minutes during midafternoon, shortly after Phil Mickelson finished in brutally tough conditions and Tiger Woods had teed off.

The final 10 groups failed to finish, meaning 30 players - including England's Steven Tiley, who is tied for third at 6 under - will have to come back at 6:30a.m. local time today to finish their rounds.

No one seemed more hurt by the wind than McIlroy, the hotshot from Northern Ireland who went from the lowest score ever in a major championship to an 8-over 80. He had parred the first three holes, then after the delay, he bogeyed No.4 - and three of the next four holes.

"It was just very, very difficult out there," McIlroy said. "I just let it get away from me a little bit."

No other player ever has taken a bigger tumble after shooting 63 in one of golf's biggest events. It left him with an 11-shot deficit.

"It's very difficult," Mickelson said after his round of 71. "Every hole is a tough par in these conditions."

Woods held on in wind that was gusting more than 30mph even after play resumed. He bogeyed the first two holes but picked up his first birdie of the day at the par-5 fifth. He nearly finished with a 20-footer for eagle on the par-4 18th. A tap-in birdie gave him a 73 and kept him in contention, though eight strokes behind Oosthuizen.

"I'm not exactly where I want to be," said Woods, who is trying to win his third straight Open at St. Andrews. "I'm not at 12-under par."

Mark Calcavecchia, at age 50 trying to strike another blow for the senior circuit, was closest to Oosthuizen among those in the clubhouse. The American, who played in the first group, shot a 67 that left him at 137, with Lee Westwood and Paul Casey another shot behind.

There was nothing to indicate Oosthuizen, 27, might contend at golf's oldest major. He missed the cut this year at the Masters and U.S. Open and did the same at last week's Scottish Open.

This is only the second time he'll make the cut in nine majors. At the 2008 PGA Championship, he finished last among those playing on the weekend. He did, however, claim his first European Tour win this year, earning a spot at Augusta National.

Oosthuizen, however, was done when the wind started to blow around lunchtime.

With the wind at his back, Oosthuizen went with shorter clubs off the tee to keep the dreaded pot bunkers out of play.

He strung together three birdies in a row beginning at the par-5 fifth. Then he got a bit wild on the back nine, starting out birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie before settling down with a couple of pars and a 15-foot birdie at the final hole.

"I'm very confident with the way I'm playing," Oosthuizen said. "It's probably the position anyone wants to be in playing a major on the weekend, and I think it's what we work to achieve, and I'm just very happy with the two rounds I put together."