The course is just unplayable, said Sally Raque, director of tournament operations. We finally got the radar all clear from lightning at 5 PM, but the course is too saturated for us to go back out right now.
Raque said this is only the third time in three years that a Futures Tour event has been shortened to 36 holes. In 2001, an event in Vermont was shortened due to rain and lightning, and the same year, a Denver tournament was shortened to 36 holes because of snow. Two years ago at the Betty Puskar tournament, summer thunderstorms at The Pines Country Club caused a six-hour weather delay.
I never even started today, said first-round tournament leader Lisa Strom of Huntersville, N.C., who had a 3:10 PM tee time, thanks to completion earlier this morning of Fridays rain-shortened first round. I saw the storm clouds rolling in while I was hitting balls on the range, but I knew I still had to stay focused and ready to go.
Forty-eight players completed 36 holes today but five groups ' including the leaders group of Strom, Reilley Rankin of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Kylie Pratt of Mackay, Australia ' had yet to hit their opening drives. Fifteen players will begin their second round on Sunday in the last event before next weeks season-ending tournament. The tours top five players on the money list will earn their 2004 LPGA Tour cards next week.
I played three holes today and Im even par, said Candy Hannemann of Rio de Janeiro, who is fourth on the season money list. Tomorrow, Ill just go at it.
Im ready ' ready to go home, said second-ranked Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, who, like the rest of the tour, huddled in the clubhouse as heavy rains pounded outside. Moon was called off the course while she was on the first green.
Weather forecasters called for flash flood warnings until 10 PM, even though skies had completely cleared by 6 PM. Still, a temporary creek had formed across the first fairway and the water-logged course would have taken hours of preparation if play had resumed in early evening.
It doesnt matter if its a 36-hole or 54-hole event, added Strom, currently ranked 16th on the money list. I still have to go back out there and take care of business. If my first win is a 36-hole event, oh well. A win is a win.