Twenty-four players – including the top five on the leaderboard – will play 36 holes in a super Sunday finish to the Women’s NSW Open after rain wreaked havoc during Saturday’s second round.
The first group out was on the 15th hole when play was suspended at 11.28am on Saturday, the Tuncurry Course copping close to 70mm of rain in the space of an hour with greens and fairways temporarily disappearing under sheets of water.
With players left cooling their heels in the clubhouse for around three hours, and with the persistent rain continuing into the early afternoon, tournament officials were left with no option but to abandon play for the day, with Round two to resume at 7.40 am on Sunday morning.
The 11.20 am group of Sarah Yamaki Branch, Amy Chu and Rachel Lee were only halfway down the first when the siren to suspend play was sounded. All up, seven groups are yet to tee off at all.
They will play their second rounds Sunday morning before the top 50 players and ties who make the cut are sent out in a shotgun start at 2.00 pm for the third and final round.
Course Superintendent Mark Spraggs and his team will work through the night to repair bunkers and move water from playing areas to complete the championship Sunday afternoon.
“Given the sheer amount of water there was simply no chance to have the course back in playable condition to warrant any further play on Saturday,” said Golf NSW Tournament Director, Olivia Wilson.
“The amount of rain we received in such a short space of time did significant damage to a number of bunkers which the greens staff need time to attend to.
“It is obviously disappointing to have the championship interrupted by rain but we had to preserve the integrity of play so that we crown a worthy champion Sunday night.”
The Saturday deluge came on the back of a 200mm downpour the course received last week and a further 41mm that fell in an hour on the night before Round one.
Japan’s Yuna Takagi (one-under through 12 holes), NSW amateur Michelle Bang (one-under through three), Kiwi amateur Vivian Lu (one-under through 14) and Steffanie Vogel (one-under through eight) were the only players under par in their second rounds.
Avondale amateur June Song remains the tournament leader at five-under, followed one stroke back by West Australian Kathryn Norris and 14-year-old Queensland amateur Godiva Kim.
As the penultimate event of the 2023 WPGA Tour of Australasia domestic season, WPGA CEO Karen Lunn said providing fair playing conditions for all players was imperative.
“Unfortunately, the weather intervened today but suspending play until Sunday was really the only option,” Lunn said.
“The playing conditions of the course changed so much that it would have been unfair on all players to send them back out in the afternoon.
“We’ll come back tomorrow and do everything we can to complete 54 holes and add another deserving name to the Jan Stephenson Trophy.”
Sunday’s play will be broadcast live on Kayo Sports from 12 pm.
Round 2 tee times