COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The trophy that Paula Creamer kept on her kitchen table for a year won’t be coming home.
This version of the U.S. Women’s Open still has a few more holes left to be played Monday, but Creamer’s reign as champion will come to an end when it’s over.
Creamer stood at 7 over for the tournament when play was suspended Sunday because of darkness. She will return to finish out her last four holes and then pass the trophy off to someone else.
It could be Hee Kyung Seo, who made her last putt on the 18th green just before the sun set to finish at 3 under.
Creamer thought she might be there, too. She had her game in perfect working order heading into the defense of her title. But her putter betrayed her as she lipped out one putt after another.
“This wasn’t what I had envisioned,” Creamer said. “It’s unfortunate. I really wanted to go back-to-back. But it just didn’t happen.”
NOT SO GRAND: Yani Tseng’s quest to complete the career Grand Slam will have to wait until next year at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., site of the 2012 U.S. Open. At the Broadmoor this year, Tseng was never in contention and wound up 6 over for the tournament.
“I tried my best,” Tseng said. “This weather, it’s just really tough. It’s tough to play on and off. Sometimes you just want to try to get a rhythm, and it’s really tough.”
Fearing another weather delay was moments away as menacing storm clouds gathered over the mountains, Tseng sprinted down the 18th fairway.
She wasn’t about to endure another stoppage.
Tseng had a plane to catch first thing Monday morning and the last thing she wanted to do was return to put the finishing touches on her round. She eventually tapped in and was free to leave town.
That’s not the case for nearly three dozen players who have to return to the course to finish their rounds.
The players came into the tournament prepared to deal with the high altitude and the long holes. But the constant delays caused by thunderstorms left them frustrated.
For four straight afternoons, the storms rolled in like clockwork, forcing them to play the waiting game.
“I knew it was going to be tough coming in this week, and the weather and the delays have made it worse,” said Angela Stanford, who’s even par in the tournament with four holes left. “It’s weird. You wouldn’t expect anything like that. It’s sad because it’s been a great event. The fans have been awesome.
“To end on a Monday is tough. … It’s going to be a tough end to a great event.”
LOST LEAD: There was a point early in the tournament when Stacy Lewis was cruising along, looking as if she would be the one to catch.
But she struggled with the delays and her game. Lewis, who won the first major of the season, was 2 over on her final round through 13 holes and 9 over for the tournament.
“I had a really bad round this morning and just frustrated with my game in general,” Lewis said. “The golf course is hard. The greens, the rough - you’ve got to hit the fairways, got to hit the greens and when you miss it you’re struggling for a bogey.”
BIG BUZZ: First the Olympics and now possibly a U.S. Open crown - the Koreans are generating quite a few headlines these days.
Hee Kyung Seo finished her round Sunday at 3 under, giving her a one-shot lead over countryman So Yeon Ryu before play was suspended for the day. Ryu still has three holes remaining Monday.
Last week, the South Korean town of Pyeongchang was awarded the 2018 Winter Games.
So, which news is bigger?
“It’s tough,” laughed another South Korean, Jiyai Shin, who finished at 4 over. “Both would be really good.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Among the leaders early in the tournament, Amy Anderson, an amateur who plays for North Dakota State, finished at 17 over.
Still, she was beaming after her final round Sunday. This has been quite a birthday present.
Anderson turned 19 on Sunday and finished in style, going 1 under in her last six holes.
“To come here and play the Open on my birthday was awesome,” Anderson said.
After her round, she threw her glove to a kid in the gallery and then signed autographs. She was an instant fan favorite - and it had nothing to do with the fact she was wearing a Denver Broncos cap.
“I have been a Broncos fan since I was 5,” she said. “(Being here), it was perfect.”