CASHIERS, N.C. – Strong rain and windy conditions put an early end to Saturday's first round of stroke-play qualifying at the USGA Senior Amateur Championship.
Weather conditions caused the suspension of play at 2:38 p.m. EDT, and were sustained enough to prevent the resumption of the round.
“We received just under 2 inches of rain over the course of the day and felt it was in the best interest of the championship to suspend play,” said the USGA’s Greg Sanfilippo, director of the championship. “We waited as long as possible for the rain to subside and for the course conditions to warrant a resumption of play, but unfortunately we were unable to continue.”
All 78 golfers from the morning wave completed their rounds, and all 78 players in the afternoon wave began their rounds prior to the suspension.
Chip Lutz, a 58-year-old from Reading, Pa., is atop the leaderboard with a 3-under-par 69, three strokes better than anyone in the morning wave.
“I am pretty pleased,” said Lutz, a Senior Amateur semifinalist in 2010 and 2011. “It was a tough day. It was really difficult. The wind was picking up and changing directions. We got a different volume of rain as we went. It would come on and then off. We got about seven holes in to get started. It was reasonably clear, just gusty wind. Then it got harder from there on in. Fortunately I have played in enough rain and wind that I tend to have a good flight pattern for these types of conditions.”
Buzz Fly, 58, of Memphis, Tenn., and Jack Hall, 56, of Sea Island, Ga., carded even-par 72s and joined Lutz as the only three competitors to post par or better among the morning wave.
“At our age, if you haven’t played in [rainy conditions] before, you haven’t played much golf,” said Hall, who is competing in his first Senior Amateur after qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open earlier this summer. “It was a consistent rain. I still think we probably had the advantage teeing off early today.“
Defending champion Paul Simson, 62, of Raleigh, N.C., was able to complete his rain-soaked round prior to the suspension of play.
“I am pretty pleased with a 73. I lost a shot on the last hole, but all in all pleased. I don’t think the scores are going to be very low at all. I think 73 is going to put me into pretty good shape for tomorrow.”
Provide the weather cooperates, first-round play will wrap up tomorrow morning, with the remaining 78 players scheduled to resume their first rounds at 7:50 a.m. EDT.
The second and final round of stroke-play qualifying will begin Sunday at 11:20 a.m., likely spilling over into Monday. Following the second round, the low 64 scorers will advance to match play, which is scheduled to begin on Monday. The 18-hole final is scheduled for Thursday.