U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR PUBLIC LINKS
Searing Heat Affecting Play at Neshanic Valley June 20, 2012 | Neshanic Station, N.J. By Rhonda Glenn, USGA

Walking the course in 93 degree heat, Lea Garner's caddie wipes down with an ice towel during the Round of 16 on Thursday. (Hunter Martin/USGA)

Players, caddies and officials at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links were happy to have a bit of a break from the heat that is pounding the nation’s Northeast.

It’s still hot, with a high temperature in the mid-90s, but not as hot as on Wednesday when the heat index topped 100. Four Rules officials went to the sidelines after nine holes on Wednesday. On Thursday, no one retired early.

"Today, we’ve been good," said Stasia Collins, a USGA Women’s Committee member who is in charge of the championship with USGA staff. "With iced towels, energy drinks, a good breeze and umbrellas, we’re okay. The towels and umbrellas make a big difference."

Gentle breezes helped.  Players and caddies were uncomplaining.

"I’ve been in worse cases, especially last week," said Annie Park, 17, of Levittown, N.Y., after playing 34 holes of golf and winning two matches on Thursday at Neshanic Valley Golf Course. "Last week was awful."

Park, who eased into Friday’s quarterfinals with a 2-and-1 win over Brittany Altomare, was referring to last week’s American Junior Golf Association Rolex tournament in Bradenton, Fla.

Park’s mother, Ann, who caddies for her, had an open umbrella attached to her pull cart. But then, she always has an umbrella attached to the cart. Unlike a few players, daughter Annie didn’t use an umbrella. "Too much work for me," she said.

"These players are in great shape," said Collins. "They’re athletes. The caddies are struggling a lot more than the players, but we haven’t lost anyone yet."

The championship scoreboard is usually one of the hottest areas at a site. Carolyn McMullen, in charge of the scoreboard at many USGA events, is posting scores in the blazing sun. "Just drinking more water than usual," said McMullen, who resides in the Phoenix area. "There have been more championships that have been hotter."

At noon, a 93-degree temperature and 42 percent humidity made it feel like 96 degrees. At 3 p.m., the heat index of 97 began to sink a bit.

Adam Miller, USGA Agronomist, Northeast Region, is taking no chances with the condition of the golf course. A bit of water was applied to the greens between Thursday’s second and third match-play rounds.

"At the end of play we’re going to give some of the greens a very light cool-down that won’t affect playability," said Miller. 

It’s doubtful that temperatures at the WAPL will set a record, even among USGA statistics. In recent memory, conditions at the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open most staggered players, caddies, officials and spectators. Each day the temperatures topped 100 degrees. When someone put a thermometer in a bunker during the final round, it registered 120 degrees. Now that’s hot.

Rhonda Glenn is a manager of communications with the USGA. E-mail her at rglenn@usga.org.
USGA communications intern Cassandra Stein also contributed to this story.