With more than a half inch of rain hitting the course before noon on Thursday, the opening round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship was suspended without a single shot being played.
The first round is now scheduled to begin today, with the second round to be played on Saturday and the third and fourth rounds to be completed on Sunday. However, with a 70 percent chance of rain in the forecast for today, tournament officials and players may be looking at a Monday finish.
“We have numerous greens underwater, with puddles in fairways,” said Sue Witters, LPGA vice president of rules and competition. “We anticipate completing on Sunday, but there is the possibility of a Monday finish.”
A beefed-up grounds crew staff will have their hands full once the rain subsides and they can begin work to repair the course at Locust Hill Country Club. Water will need to be removed from greens and tees, and washed out bunkers will need to be rebuilt, but no repairs cab take place until the rain lets up.
The heavy rainfall was likely to lead to additional difficulties for the players once they do make it on the course. Prior to Thursday’s downpour, the primary cut of rough at Locust Hill was cut to one inch. The second cut measured in at five inches with the outlying rough seven inches or more. The rain will only make hitting the fairway more imperative to keep scores low and avoid injuries.
“Weather is always a factor and we deal with it all the time,” said Stacy Lewis, winner of the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship. “We knew it was going to be a long day, a long week.”
Volunteers will also experience a change in normal procedures as schedules and other routines are adjusted. The media/volunteer parking area, normally across the street from the club house, has been relocated because the original is a now a mud field. Residents who offer their yards for parking may need to reconsider as well, or be faced with the expense of seeding a new lawn.
Despite the adversity, the tournament will push on as the first of two major golf championships in the Rochester area this summer. Along with the annual LPGA tournament, Oak Hill Country Club will host the 95th PGA Championship this August, marking the first time in history two major golf tournaments have been played in the same area in one summer.