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Victory for the ponchos

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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – One person relatively happy to see all of that rain on Thursday was Mary Lopuszynski, director of licensing and U.S. Open merchandising. More than 1 ¼ inches of rain fell on Bethpage State Park's Black Course on Thursday, halting first-round play at 10:16 a.m. As a result, hundreds of ponchos which the U.S. Golf Association purchased in 2003 finally started moving off the shelves after a run of several dry U.S. Opens.
 
'We've brought them to every U.S. Open since then, anticipating rain,' said Lopuszynski, 'but it never did. We sold a lot of outerwear today (Thursday).'
 
And umbrellas. By 9 a.m. Thursday morning, the merchandise pavilion had sold out 600 umbrellas. Another 600 arrived at 10:30 a.m. and 'were gone almost as fast as we put them on the floor,' says Lopuszynski. Another shipment of 1,000 umbrellas, priced from $29 to $49, are expected to arrive on Saturday just in time for more rain forecasted for later that afternoon and Sunday. The ponchos, which sport the U.S. Open Championship trophy on them, sell for $10. There is still a limited number available.
 
Sales of merchandise were below-average on Thursday due to the number of spectators that stayed home, but the USGA recorded record sales on Wednesday, says Lopuszynski. The 43,000-square-foot merchandise pavilion, which is slightly longer than a football field at 330 feet, is the largest ever for a U.S. Open. At the start of the week, it housed 110,000 hats (the No. 1 selling item), 60,000 shirts and 25,000 sleeves of golf balls.