U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
A Long Day's Journey Into Night September 29, 2015 | NASHVILLE, TENN. By Lisa D. Mickey

Competitors endured three weather-related delays and soggy condtions before skies finally brightened on Tuesday afternoon. (USGA/Matt Sullivan)

Tuesday was a day of umbrellas, rain gloves, puddles and patience, starting with a soggy Round of 32 that featured three weather delays and finally a suspension for darkness that ended play until 7:45 a.m. CDT on Wednesday.

Competitors entertained themselves indoors as heavy rains came and went. And when play resumed, they were forced to adjust to the changing course conditions.

“I was having trouble reaching the greens on some of the holes because of the wind and wetness,” said Pamela Kuong of Wellesley Hills, Mass., who upset six-time USGA champion Ellen Port of St. Louis, Mo., in the Round of 32.

“I was hitting driver, 3-wood, but getting up and down from everywhere,” added Kuong. “It was really different from the practice rounds because I was hitting irons into the greens. I knew I had to chip and putt and fortunately, I was really solid.”

Like most of the field, Kuong will return to Hillwood Country Club Wednesday morning to complete her Round of 16 match. She currently holds a 1-up lead over Sophie Pfeiffer of France through six holes.

“I’m just thinking one hole and one shot at a time when I return to finish my match tomorrow,” Kuong added. “I went into Nashville last night, so there will be no Nashville for me tonight. I’ll get a good meal, watch some TV and go to bed early.”

Pam Kuong of Wellesley Hills, Mass., is hoping to advance to the quarterfinals after defeating Ellen Port in the Round of 32. (USGA/Matt Sullivan)

Tama Caldabaugh of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is the lone player who won’t have to return and complete her Round-of-16 match Wednesday morning. Caldabaugh got a hot hand on a soggy day and capitalized on an ace to win her match against Lynne Cowan of Rocklin, Calif., 5 and 3.

She used a 7-iron to ace the 14th hole that was playing at 123 yards. It was her third hole-in-one, but her first in competition.

But as exciting as it was to win a hole with one swing, Caldabaugh said she had to regroup before she moved to the next hole.

“I had to just go to the next tee and tell myself, OK, you won the hole, so just don’t get too excited and hit a good tee shot,” she said.

During today’s multiple weather suspensions, Caldabaugh said she tried “to not get too stiff and tight” and sat outside, rather than inside as play waited to resume. She tried to eat a little and “not get ahead of myself.”

“When you go back out on the course after a delay, you have to pretend there wasn’t a gap,” she added. “You have to think, ‘I just played this hole and now I’m stepping up to the next hole’ and pretend the delays didn’t happen at all.”

And because she won her match before play was suspended for darkness today, Caldabaugh said Wednesday will be “like a regular day” for her.

“I’m glad I finished today’s second match,” she said. “Whenever there’s a break, you always wonder if you’ll be able to come back and play the same way you were playing.”

Of course, that can work two ways.

Anna Schultz of Rockwall, Texas, left the course Tuesday night 2 down through 13 to Jane Fitzgerald of Kensington, Md. Schultz said the suspension for darkness could actually work to her advantage.

“Anything can happen when we come back on Wednesday to finish the match,” she said. “I could win the next five holes. I’m going to be an optimist.”

And playing multiple holes of golf doesn’t faze the Texan, who says she plays 36 holes of golf every day she can.

“I have so much adrenaline at this tournament that I don’t get tired until I stop,” said Schultz, who left the course Tuesday looking for a local steakhouse.

Sue Cohn of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., also hopes to use the overnight to regroup before she returns to finish her match against Lisa Schlesinger of Laytonsville, Md. Cohn is one down through three holes.

“In my first match, I got here around 8 in the morning, hit two shots on No. 1, then had an hour and a half delay, so I really didn’t start playing until around 1:30 p.m.,” said Cohn. “It’s hard to sit around and wait like that, but everybody’s doing it.”

Cohn said she wasn’t pleased with her performance in her suspended second match, but has high hopes for a new start.

“I’ll come back fresh tomorrow and hopefully play better,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever played more than 36 holes in a day, but I’m hoping I play a lot of holes on Wednesday and that it’s the longest day ever.”