COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Instead of teeing it up when she comes back to the Broadmoor, Cristie Kerr’s next shot at the U.S. Women’s Open will be a blast out of the bunker on the front, right side of the seventh green.
A difficult shot. But it could be worse.
A quirky day of thunder and lightning — but only spits of rain — suspended play Thursday with only 25 players finished with their first round. It was a bad break on the opening day of the toughest test in golf — balky weather that figures to turn one of the most difficult weeks on the schedule into an even bigger grind.
“That’s part of the gamble,” said Christina Kim, who will try to squeeze in 36 holes on Friday.
The rain halted a mini streak for Kerr, who had made two straight birdies to get into a tie for the lead at 2-under par with amateur Amy Anderson. After her second birdie, Kerr, who opened her round on the back, teed off into the right rough on No. 7, then hit her approach into the sand. That’s when the siren sounded and the players headed to the clubhouse.
“At least I’ll get to practice some long bunker shots before we go out, so maybe it’s a good thing for me,” she said.
Everything was relative on this day.
After halting play, the USGA kept the players in the clubhouse for two 1/2 hours, but with the thunder still rumbling and the radar blinking red, officials called play. There were 75 players on the course and 66 who hadn’t hit a shot. That means nearly half the field, including defending champion Paula Creamer and Yani Tseng, trying to complete her career Grand Slam, could face 72 holes packed into three days of action on a typically rough U.S. Open setup.
The Broadmoor is the first course to measure more than 7,000 yards for the U.S. Women’s Open — quite a haul, even at 6,700 feet in altitude.
“We were actually sitting here debating, what’s the better draw?” Kim said. “Is it the one we have and we try to get 36 in in one day, or the one where you have 19 hours between shots in the same round?”
Sarah-Jane Smith of Australia falls into the latter category, but only barely. After hearing her name announced on the first tee box, Smith striped her first shot down the middle of the fairway and started walking. Suddenly, the sirens blared and she made a U-turn back to the clubhouse.
“I’ve not teed off at all before,” she said. “But I’ve never hit one, then walked straight back in. I’m looking forward to it.”
Then, pointing to her husband and caddie, Duane, she said, “He should have the yardage figured out by tomorrow morning.”
For the record, Duane Smith says it will be a 150-yard shot when play resumes at 7:45 a.m. local time Friday.
And while Smith is sleeping on one good shot, Anderson will join Kerr in sleeping on the lead.
The second-team All-American from North Dakota State hit her approach on the par-5 ninth to tap-in range for her second birdie of the day. That put her at 2 under.
“The first-day leader,” she said. “That’s way more than I could have imagined.”
She needs to hold onto the lead for six more holes to make it official.
The only other players under par when play was suspended were Inbee Park (through 17), Ai Miyazato (15) and Silvia Cavalleri, who birdied No. 1 moments before weather halted play.
Amateur Brittany Marchand of Orangeville, Ont., shot a 10-over 81. Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., was 1 over through 17 while Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ont., was 4 over through 12.