USGA WOMEN'S STATE TEAM
Women’s State Team Ends on a ‘High’ Note September 28, 2017 | SANTA FE, N.M. By David Chmiel, USGA

Phoebe Brinker and her Delaware teammates posted by far the state's best finish in the Women's State Team, coming in second. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

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Round 2 of the 12th and final USGA Women’s State Team Championship ended with suspension of play due to darkness after a 48-minute lightning delay and hours of heavy downpours. The rains continued through the night and into the early morning, eventually giving way to glimpses of blue sky peeking over the Sunrise Course at The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe – which offered views of the fresh snow capping the top of 13,000-feet-above-sea-level Ski Santa Fe Resort off in the distance. Here is a chronological collection of happenings as the Women’s State Team ended on a high note Thursday:

4:30 a.m. MDT: The Club at Las Campanas closes its Sunset Course to allocate all available workers to help make the Sunrise Course playable. Tom Egelhoff, director of agronomy, and Bryce Fischer, Sunrise superintendent, led the 55-person team in the massive task of restoring washed-out areas, draining water that pooled in bunkers and ensuring that the greens would roll as true as the previous two rounds.

6:30 a.m.: Weather officials confirm that 1.49 inches of rain – including 0.24 inches after midnight – fell on the Sunrise Course from the time afternoon play began during Round 2 and the course was being prepped for Round 3. According to the U.S. Climate Data Service, the average September precipitation total is 1.54 inches, and 14.2 for the year.

8:40 a.m.: Mary Chandler Bryan proved the integrity that golf instills in people. Bryan, who left the Sunrise Course Wednesday night with only the ninth hole to finish, returned to the course ready for when the completion of Round 2 would begin. She made a par for a 74 and two-round total of 6-over 148 – or so she thought. Bryan went to the driving range to stay loose for Round 3, when she noticed that she had a 15th club in the bag on the range, which meant it was in her bag and she didn’t declare it out of play when she finished Round 2. She immediately went to the USGA office and reported her infraction, even though she feared it would result in the disqualification of her entire South Carolina team. The Chapin native was issued a four-stroke penalty (two strokes for violation of Rule 4-4, and two strokes for violation of Rule 6-6d, signing an incorrect scorecard). Fortunately, the violation did not result in disqualification and Bryan went on to shoot a 9-over 225.

10:30 a.m.: During a 90-minute flurry, all heck breaks out on the leader board, with Indiana catapulting to the top of the leader board, only to be passed by Florida, Tennessee and Delaware, the championship’s youngest team. New York, which held the lead after two rounds, fell back to sixth.

11 a.m.: The dire weather reports, which included a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms, seems like a desert mirage for the teams that started so early to ensure the championship could finish on schedule.

12:25 p.m.: The Tennessee team of Jayna Choi, Kristen Gilliam and Riley Rennell take a one-stroke lead over the rest of the field.

1p.m.- 3:15 p.m.: The USGA volunteers manning the leader board to the left of the ninth green are in a titanic battle. They are working hard to keep up with the action, as Indiana, Florida, Delaware, New York and Tennessee continue to take turns making birdies and moving around at the top of the pecking order. The teams swapped the lead no fewer than seven times.

3:25 p.m.: Julia Potter, of Indiana, finishes at 6-under-par 210, pulling away from the field to clinch individual medal honors. Phoebe Brinker, of Delaware, came in second with a 4-under 212 and Ashley Menne, of Arizona, tied for third at 3-under 213.

3:35 p.m.: Tennessee seems to be weathering the storm with a two-stroke lead as Rennell plays the ninth hole (her 18th of the day).

3:48 p.m.: Rennell two-putts from 20 feet for par and begins a cautious celebration with Jayna Choi as they wait for teammate Ashley Gilliam to make her way down the ninth hole.

4:02 p.m.: Gilliam sinks a 2-foot putt for par and her teammates storm the green, giving her a post-round celebratory shower with bottles of water.

4:30 p.m.: Twelve hours after the hard work of weathering the storm began, it’s time for the photo opportunities, thank yous and a special shout-out to the grounds crew for their hard work. The party is on, and the 12th and final USGA Women’s State Team Championship is in the books – and in the memories of all in attendance at The Club at Las Campanas.

David Chmiel is manager of member content for the USGA. Email him at dchmiel@usga.org

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