ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Donna Mummert had heard about a mad rush to finish a round, but had never witnessed it.
On Saturday at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, play was delayed for one hour by fog, with the first groups starting at 9 a.m., and the day’s final groupings beginning their rounds off the first and 10th tees at 3:10. With sunset at 7:08, and the pace of play expected to average 4½ hours, it seemed unlikely that the first round would end on Saturday.
“We have had players rushing to complete a playoff for match play before darkness, but this was something I had never seen,” said Mummert, the director of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur for the USGA. “We had players running down the 18th fairway to complete their rounds.”
Players elected to complete their rounds so as to not have to return to the course Sunday morning to play one or two holes, then having to wait a few hours to begin their second round of stroke play.
“There was a group on the 17th green, and all of a sudden we heard a tee shot,” said Mummert. “One of the members of the group was teeing off on No. 18 as the others were putting out.”
The second-to-last group on No. 9, playing their final hole, marked their balls on the green of the par 3 so that the final group could hit their tee shots and complete the hole in the gloaming.
There was another fog delay on Sunday morning of one hour, setting up another possible sprint to the finish Sunday evening. With only 64 of the players in the field of 132 moving on to match play on Monday, the incentive will be even greater to complete the round.
White Has Made Mark at Biltmore Forest
Todd White, of Spartanburg, S.C., a member of last month’s winning USA Walker Cup Team who was tied for the lead after the first round of stroke-play qualifying at the U.S. Mid-Amateur, is well known at Biltmore Forest Country Club.
White has paired with Biltmore Forest member Mark Hedberg to win the Jess Sweetser Memorial Tournament here three times. The tournament honors Sweetser, the 1922 U.S. Amateur champion and a longtime member of the club, who also won the 1926 British Amateur and represented the USA in six Walker Cup Matches. White and Hedberg, a four-time club champion, won the Sweetser in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.