GOLF ROUNDUP: Rain suspends play at U.S. Women’s Open
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Instead of teeing it up when she comes back to the Broadmoor, Cristie Kerr’s next shot at the U.S. Women’s Open will be a blast out of the bunker on the front, right side of the seventh green.
A difficult shot. It could be worse.
A quirky day of thunder and lightning – but only spits of rain – suspended play Thursday with 25 players making it through the first round. It was a bad break on the opening day of the toughest test in golf – balky weather that figures to turn one of the most difficult weeks on the schedule into an even bigger grind.
“That’s part of the gamble,” said Christina Kim, who will try to squeeze in 36 holes on Friday.
The rain halted a mini streak for Kerr, who had made two straight birdies to get into a tie for the lead at 2-under par with amateur Amy Anderson. After her second birdie, Kerr, who opened her round on the back, teed off into the right rough on No. 7, then hit her approach into the sand. That’s when the siren sounded and the players headed to the clubhouse.
“At least I’ll get to practice some long bunker shots before we go out, so maybe it’s a good thing for me,” she said.
After halting play, the USGA kept the players in the clubhouse for 2 1/2 hours, but with the thunder still rumbling and the radar blinking red, officials called play. There were 75 players on the course and 66 who hadn’t hit a shot. That means nearly half the field, including defending champion Paula Creamer and Yani Tseng, trying to complete her career Grand Slam, could face 72 holes in three days.
Blanks takes Deere Classic lead
SILVIS, Ill. (AP) – Kris Blanks birdied his final five holes Thursday to finish with an 8-under-par 63 and grab the first-round lead at the John Deere Classic.
Blanks, who played the back nine first, rolled in a 25-foot putt on No. 5 to start his late run and capped it with an 11-footer to leave him alone at the top after Canadian rookie Matt McQuillan and veteran Davis Love III held that spot much of the day with 64s.
Another late starter, Steve Marino, also came in with a 64. Mark Wilson, who has won twice on the tour this year, and Kyle Stanley were another stroke back, while Steve Stricker, seeking his third straight title in the tournament, was part of a large group at 66.
Blanks, 38, is in his third year on the tour and came in tied for 175th in putting. But after tinkering with his approach on Wednesday night, he found what he needed and put himself in good position to reach the weekend.
“It was good to finally see some putts fall, which I’ve been struggling with all year,” said Blanks, who has missed the cut in 11 of 20 tournaments. “So that was definitely a positive. It’s just fun to make some putts.”
If Blanks was a surprise in the lead, seeing McQuillan near the top was even a bigger shock. McQuillan, who has missed 10 straight cuts this year, grew so discouraged with his game in 2005 that he spent two years tending bar in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario.
He then played a year on the Canadian Tour and two on the eGolf Tour before going to Q-school on what he called “a shot in the dark” and earning a spot on this year’s PGA Tour.
But he hasn’t made a cut since tying for 54th at the Sony Open in mid-January and has won just $12,705 on the year.