GLENCOE, Illinois (August 4, 2010) – Western Golf Association officials on Wednesday reduced the stroke-play segment of the 108th Western Amateur to 54 holes from the scheduled 72 as a result of two major rain delays, the second of which caused play to be suspended for the day.
Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Skokie Country Club for 18 players who have not yet started their second rounds and 62 players still on the course, including two from the morning round who are on their final hole.
At the conclusion of the second round – at approximately 1 p.m. – the field will be cut to the low 44 and ties. That group will play 18 holes to determine which 16 players will advance to the “Sweet 16” match play portion of the prestigious championship.
“The golf course took on a lot of rain in the weeks leading up to the tournament and just couldn’t take on any more water,” said Vince Pellegrino, vice-president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association. “We decided to give it the rest of the day to recover and try again tomorrow.”
Tournament officials suspended play at 4:33 p.m. Wednesday after a deluge accompanied by lightning poured a half-inch of rain on the course in approximately 40 minutes, flooding fairways and greens on the already rain-sodden course. The second storm came after a morning rain measuring a half inch delayed a.m. tee times by two-and-a-half hours until 10 a.m. Just over an eighth of an inch fell on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, with all but two of the morning contestants got through their second rounds, Sweden’s Henrik Norlander and incoming USC freshman Jeffrey Kang were tied for the 36-hole lead at 7-under par.
Norlander and Kang both shot 4-under par 67s after both shot 3-under 68 in round one.
“It was wet but the fairways were so soft you get the number [of the iron] and you hit,” said Norlander, a member of the NCAA champion Augusta State golf team. “I had a lot of 8-7-6 irons today. I was very confident. I have been hitting my irons well for a long time.”
Kang shot even par on Skokie’s back nine – his first nine for the day – with two birdies and two bogeys, but he reeled off four birdies on the front nine before playing his last three holes in even par in a steady downpour.
“I feel I can score better on the front nine because I have shorter irons in my hand,” said Kang, 19, of Fullerton, Calif. “The last couple of holes we got poured on but the rain didn’t affect me. I like the course. It sets up well for me. I feel pretty comfortable.”
TCU senior Tom Hoge of Fargo, ND is in third place two strokes back at 5-under par after he shot 5-under 66, - low score of the tournament so far – after opening with an even par 71 on Tuesday.
“The course was pretty soft today,” said Hoge, 21, winner of the 2007 and 2008 North Dakota State Amateur and the 2009 and 2010 Minnesota State Amateur. “You could go after the pins.”
Hoge qualified for the U.S. Amateur in Fargo on Monday, winning his qualifier by eight shots. A couple of hours later, Hoge and his father drove through the night to the tournament’s host hotel near the golf course, arriving at 4:30 a.m. Hoge, who had never played Skokie before, caught a few hours of sleep in advance of his 12:50 p.m. tee time.