By David Shefter, USGA
Kiawah Island, S.C. – Heavy rains on Monday forced USGA officials to postpone the first round of match play at the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur being conducted on Cassique at The Kiawah Island Club.
First-round matches are scheduled to resume Tuesday at 7:20 a.m. EDT, with the hope that the second round of match play can commence at 1:30 p.m.
The USGA's Allison Jarrett (left), the director of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, informs the remaining 64 players that the scheduled first round of match play at the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur has been postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday morning. (John Mummert/USGA)
USGA officials delayed the start of the first round on Monday and had the course prepped and ready for play to begin at 12:10 p.m. Keith Decker of Martinsville, Va., and former major-league pitcher Erik Hanson of Kirkland, Wash., each hit drives off the first hole before USGA officials suspended play for the day when course became unplayable from the rain. Play was suspended at 12:18 p.m. and called for the day at 1 p.m.
USGA Green Section agronomists Chris Hartwiger and Pat O’Brien said 1.6 inches of rain had fallen on the course by the time officials decided to suspend play for the day.
Allison Jarrett, the director of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, and Jay Rains, the chairman of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship Committee, addressed the 64 remaining contestants in the dining room at Cassique to go over the revised schedule. Both thanked the players for their patience, saying the weather outlook for Tuesday looked good for a full day of golf.
“You have to go with it and be ready to play when it’s time to tee it up,” said co-medalist Nathan Smith, 31, of Pittsburgh, Pa. “I think the rest of the week looks OK.”
Smith, a member of this year’s victorious USA Walker Cup team who also helped Pennsylvania claim the USGA Men’s State Team title 10 days ago at the Country Club of St. Albans in suburban St. Louis, wasn’t scheduled to begin his first-round match until 4 p.m. He had just arrived at the club for some lunch when the announcement to suspend for the day was made.
He said the decision to call play could be advantageous for everyone.
“It will probably work out that everybody isn’t out there playing in the pouring rain,” said Smith, the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who now works as an investment advisor.
Kevin Marsh, the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, decided to stick around in the locker room and play some cards.
Others just bolted the premises to brace for what looks to be several days of marathon golf for those fortunate enough to keep advancing.
Will that favor the younger players in the field?
“My caddie (father Larry Smith) is 62 so it all balances out,” said Smith, who played plenty of competitive events this past summer to make a run at the Walker Cup. “It’s one of those [events] where everyone is excited. If you are able to somehow keep advancing, I think everybody [will be going on adrenaline]. I’m sure when it’s all said and done, everybody will be pretty tired.”
David Shefter is a USGA Digital Media staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view current match results, click the link below.