U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
Players Rolling With Weather Challenges at Shoal Creek June 2, 2018 | Shoal Creek, Ala. By Julie Williams

So Yeon Ryu won the U.S. Women's Open in 2011, which required a Monday finish, so she is used to weather challenges. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

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When So Yeon Ryu won the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open, it capped a marathon week in which rounds carried over from one day to the next. Several weather delays at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., meant that Ryu had to report to the 16th hole on Monday morning to complete Round 4, birdieing the 18th hole to force a three-hole playoff against Hee Kyung Seo. Ryu ultimately prevailed, and these are memories she has drawn on at the 73rd U.S. Women’s Open.

“I know it’s going to be tough playing 27 holes in one day, but actually every time when it comes to playing a U.S. Women’s Open, I kind of expect it,” said Ryu, who has four top-five finishes in this championship since her victory, including a tie for third in 2017. “I know it’s a challenge, but that’s what majors are.”

Ryu had 9½ holes of her second round to finish Saturday morning. She played the back nine in 2 under and will start the third round tied for 15th at 1 under.

When a storm cell moved through Shoal Creek Friday afternoon, it chased players off the course. They waited for nearly four hours and made it back to the course for a little more than an hour before play was called for the day. No player in the afternoon wave finished her second round.

Casey Danielson finished 12 holes Friday afternoon, so she had a pre-dawn wakeup call for the second time in three days. Tee times, originally scheduled for 6:45 a.m., were pushed back an hour Saturday morning, which allowed Danielson some bonus sleep. The Osceola, Wis., native had hit the opening shot off No. 1 tee on Thursday morning, also her 24th birthday.

Ultimately, a bogey on the 17th hole knocked Danielson outside the cutline, which fell at 5 over, for the second time in two Women’s Open starts.

“The greens are slow, but I almost like slower greens,” Danielson said of Saturday-morning course conditions after Shoal Creek soaked up nearly three quarters of an inch of rain overnight.

Michelle Wie woke up to an early alarm, checked her phone to see that play was delayed, then went right back to bed. She made all pars and one birdie to close out a second-round 72 that was lacking in scoring opportunities.

“I wish I’d made a couple more birdies but at the same time I grinded out there, made a lot of par putts,” said Wie, the 2014 Women’s Open champion, who began Round 3 in a tie for fourth place.

Ariya Jutanugarn looked most comfortable with the schedule shake-up. She fanned herself with a piece of hand-made artwork given to her by a young fan and talked of listening to Thai pop music during Friday’s down time.

“It’s a little bit wet, but not too bad,” Jutanugarn said of course conditions. “Just a little bit more than yesterday.”

Jutanugarn, who is 7 under and trails Sarah Jane Smith by three shots at the start of Round 3, said she didn’t really focus on what Smith was doing the previous day.

With a few hours to kill before her afternoon tee time, Jutanugarn was headed for a shower and a nap. Sometimes she likes to watch the PGA Tour or tennis on TV, but usually doesn’t have time during a competition week.

“I love how the guys play, I love to watch them play,” she said.

It could be inspiration for Jutanugarn as she makes a run at her first Women’s Open title.

Julie Williams is a Florida-based freelance writer.

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