PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Co-leader Sarah Jane Smith came out to the Ocean Club and worked on her short game for an oh-so-brief time on Friday. With winds whipping north of 40 mph, few players saw much to gain from a day of work at the Ocean Club.
LPGA officials suspended play on Friday at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic at 8:39 a.m. Eastern. Players were experiencing sustained winds of 30-35 mph, and it wasn’t going to to get any better as the day progressed. Officials called play for the day at 10 a.m.
“We looked at a lot of models hoping someone would give us hope,” said Sue Witters, LPGA vice chair of rules and competition, “but if anything it’s gotten worse.”
A dozen players came out to finish their first round on Friday after play was suspended due to darkness. Several made it through five holes in the second round before play was called for the day. Witters said they could not get a ball to rest on the exposed 13th green.
At least year’s Evian Championship, officials controversially wiped out scores after the weather turned south in a hurry. That’s not happening here.
“The difference in Evian were the drastic conditions from what they were playing in and what they would be playing in the next day,” said Witters. “We’ve got wind yesterday and wind today and throughout the week. So tomorrow it’s still going to be windy, it’s just supposed to come down to the point where we won’t have balls moving on the greens. It’s going to be windy; it’s not stopping.”
Brooke Henderson held the first-round lead after a 5-under 68. She bogeyed her first hole to drop into a share of first at 4 under with Smith and Luna Sobron Galmes.
Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. The first starting time for the afternoon wave will be at 10:35 a.m. Current weather reports for Saturday morning indicate winds of 25-32 mph with gusts up to 38 mph. The intensity is expected to drop slightly in the afternoon.
Officials have not made a decision about whether or not to cut the tournament to 54 holes. A tournament must complete 36 holes to make it official. It’s worth noting that the first round was not completed before darkness fell.
“A lot is going to depend on how much golf we can play tomorrow,” said Witters.
Pernilla Lindberg played one hole on Friday and believed officials made the right call. A Monday finish would be difficult for players like Lindberg, who are scheduled to compete in the Oates Vic Open, which begins next Thursday in Australia.
Officials have a number of factors to consider regarding extending the tournament into next week, including hotel rooms, flights, the weather forecast and the cost of televising a Monday finish.
The 2013 edition of this event was reduced to 36 holes due to flooding.