Play was initially suspended at 9:51 a.m. and did not resume until 1:51 p.m. Then when storm clouds returned, suspending play again at 4:55 p.m., play was officially suspended for a Saturday-morning resumption of the first round. Only nine players completed 18 holes with 135 players returning to the course on Saturday.
I was in my pajamas until 3 oclock today, just watching TV, reading and playing my guitar, said Lindsay Wright of Albury, Australia, whose original 1:24 p.m. tee time was pushed back to 5:24 p.m. Im ready to go.
But so were the winds of Wichita. Severe storm cells passing through the city drove players into the clubhouse at Willowbend Golf Club to watch television weather reports and whittle away the hours with card games, books, stretching and enough Krispy Kreme doughnuts to put fitness guru Richard Simmons on high alert.
Kim Adams of Tide Head, New Brunswick resisted the sweets, but got her competitive juices flowing after winning a lively card game of 31 at a table packed with Canadians sporting toques and game faces -- with not a Moosehead in sight.
Starting on the 10th tee, Adams posted a 3 under score of 69 that included two birdies on the back nine and three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. It was a round that felt lower than her posted score on the par-72, 6,405-yard course.
It was playing like a three-club wind today and I was always between two or three clubs, said Adams, who won the Tours season-opening tournament in Lakeland, Fla. I knew a lot of people were going to get frustrated out there. I wasnt trying to hit shots. I was just focused on hitting greens.
And that strategy paid off.
While patience was required, Adams paid special caution to her club selection. On the par-3 third hole, for example, Adams used a 4-iron on Thursday. In todays competitive round with stiff wind blowing at her back, she pulled a 7-iron for her tee shot. On the 387-yard par-4 ninth hole playing into the wind with a lurking water hazard, Adams was forced to play driver, 8-iron, 8-iron and bogeyed the hole.
Ive never laid up on a par-4 in my life, but the wind was so strong, thats all I could do, said Adams, who used 24 putts in her round. It definitely played like a par-5.
Playing in the same group, Liz Earley of St. Catharines, Ontario, posted the days second-best score of 1-over 73. Only nine players completed 18 holes in a stuttered start of the Tours third season event and first tournament in three weeks. But with the potential of tornadoes in the area, players spent most of the day running for cover or hunkering down in the clubhouse.
In the morning delay, Naree Song of Seoul, Korea, and her mother spent time in the locker room reading and picking turf from the players plastic spikes. Others stretched, flipped TV channels and read. Bored golf dads puffed cigarettes on the front porch, while an interpreter for one Korean player sat on a couch and explained to Korean parents the evacuation plan to the downstairs cart area if a tornado actually arrived.
Fortunately, the days only disaster came in the form of disqualification for three players who made a costly blunder. On the 18th green when the storm suspension horns were blown for the second time of the day, the three players putted out after the warning. A man, whom the players assumed was a volunteer rules official, told the group they had the option of completing play since all had reached the green. It was unfortunate advice for Andrea Werner of Evansville, Ind., Lisa Whitt of Okla., and Cathie Williamson of Shelby, Mont.
After all that hard work in the wind, this is really disappointing, said Whitt. This is the first time Ive ever been disqualified. I learned my lesson not to listen to people who arent wearing a Tour badge.