HOYLAKE, England – The notorious winds off the North Sea claimed the RICOH Women’s British Open as a victim Friday.
Second-round play was suspended due to high winds that resulted in unplayable course conditions. Play is scheduled to resume at 6:50 a.m. local time on Saturday morning with the entire second round still needing to be played. All scores were wiped out.
So Yeon Ryu and Haeji Kang were the first-round leaders at -2 under 70..
A total of 36 players recorded scores on Friday morning at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club before play was initially suspended at 8:25 a.m. local time. Winds gusting up to 60 mph made it difficult for players to keep balls on the green or on the tee. While officials had hoped to resume play mid-afternoon, the conditions had not drastically improved and the decision was made at 2:00 p.m. to suspend play until Saturday morning.
After play was initially halted on Friday morning, the Rules Committee of the Ladies Golf Union declared that the scores recorded by those early groups would be “null and void” in accordance with Rule 33-2d.
Here was the statement from Susan Simpson, the LGU Tournament Director, on why the second round will be restarted:
“The Rules Committee has declared the scores returned this morning null and void in accordance with Rule 33-2d.
The competitors began their round in extremely adverse weather conditions and conditions subsequently worsened despite our belief that they would remain stable. It would have been unfair to those competitors not to declare play null and void and cancel all scores for the round in question. “
This is not the first time in LPGA history that scores have been nullified. It’s happened at least twice on Tour, occurring at both the 2001 LPGA Champions Classic and 2003 Samsung World Championship. In both of those events, the first round was washed out due to rain and the round was restarted. England native Karen Stupples grew up playing in many types of weather conditions on a links golf course but Friday brought a kind of wind she said she’d never witnessed while playing a round.
Stupples teed off in the first group on Friday morning at 7 a.m. and she said that while the wind was a factor throughout the few holes she played, she experienced something new on the third green.
“On the third, my ball started oscillating and it wouldn’t stop,” Stupples said. “It just sat there and just kept moving and I had to call for an official to come and figure out what the ruling was with that, and she said, hit it. Even if it’s oscillating, you can hit it. I’m like, really? It’s quite disconcerting, because how do you hit a moving ball? Because it can wobble a little bit, and you catch it not quite where you used to. I don’t know, it can affect everything, and it did. I made double bogey there.”
“I’ve seen balls roll because of a wind gust but not a continual just blowing constant. That was just brutal.”
Michelle Wie is known as one of the taller players on the LPGA Tour but she joked that her height was not an advantage with the wind howling on Friday morning at Royal Liverpool.
“I think it’s one day that’s really good to be short, because I felt like a flagpole out there,” Wie said with a laugh. “I felt really tall and like I was going all over the place.”
On the morning scores being declared “null and void” and restarting the second round.
“I think it’s only the right thing to do,” said Suzann Pettersen. “The conditions were unreasonable and unfortunately it took 2 ½-3 holes to realize that it was unplayable.”
“I don’t think from the players’ perspective that there was any other outcome. It wasn’t just unfair conditions, it was unplayable.”