Colorado Springs, Colo. – When Yani Tseng walked off The Broadmoor East Course’s 17th green with daylight waning on Sunday, she and the members of her threesome were met by a USGA official. They were informed that a suspension of play due to darkness might be imminent.
Considering there had already been five previous delays in play during this 66th U.S. Women’s Open, the threesome that also included Jean Chua and Suzann Pettersen was ready to be finished with the 72nd hole.
Suzann told me, ‘I’m gonna run. You better run, too,’ said Tseng , a four-time major champion. I was like, ‘Okay, okay, I'll run with you,’ because we want to make sure everybody gets done.
Tseng, who entered this week seeking to complete the career Grand Slam, finished the championship at 6-over-par 290, well out of contention. Any disappointment she may have had was masked by the excitement of not having to deal with further delays.
I'm so excited I can go back home, she said. I tried my best to win this tournament, but at least we got it done today.
Through four days there have been five suspensions totaling 9 hours, 26 minutes. As a result, play will spill into Monday morning with Hee Kyung Seo sitting in the clubhouse with the lead at 3-under 281 and her nearest challengers having holes left to play.
Seo leads So Yeon Ryu by one stroke, Cristie Kerr by two strokes and Angela Stanford by three strokes. When play resumes at 8 a.m. MDT, Kerr will have two holes left to complete, Ryu three and Stanford four.
And as bizarre as it may seem given the grueling stop-and-start pace of this week, Stanford, the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open runner-up, welcomed the overnight break.
I mean, it's good to know exactly what I have to do, said Stanford, who played her last four holes before play was called due to darkness in four over par. It's been beautiful every morning here, so the good news is I'm playing a stretch of holes that you can make three birdies and not [holes] 10 through 15.
But there is no denying that the inclement weather has made for early wakeup calls and long days. Even for youngsters like 19-year-old Amy Anderson.
It was more mentally draining than anything, because you have to be ready all the time, said Anderson, who shared the first-day lead with Kerr on Thursday before play was suspended at 12:47 p.m. and then called for the day at 3:11 p.m. It just dragged out. And waking up at 4:30 this morning, always having to wake up early, especially when I was anticipating a late tee time on Friday, it's just … it's physically, mentally, emotionally draining.
Like Stanford, Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion, is embracing the overnight respite.
I'm excited I get to come out here and finish it tomorrow, because playing the last two holes in the dark probably wouldn't have been fun, she said. Playing that much golf and having that much of a long day, I'll come out fresh tomorrow and rested.
On the flip side, Seo goes to bed with the lead underneath her pillow. Any nervousness Seo may have with holding the lead likely will be tempered by exhaustion.
I can sleep very well, so I don't worry about that, she said.
Stuart Hall is a North Carolina-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.