As much rain as the grounds at Highland Meadows Golf Club has absorbed the past two days, course superintendent Mark Mixdorf said the greater problem impacting his crew's efforts to make it playable for the final day of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic was lightning.
The forecast for electrically charged skies last night prevented the 19-man crew and volunteer personnel from the typical procedure of mowing the fairways at night.
So, everything was to begin at 5 a.m. this morning.
That's when Mixdorf's grounds gang should have executed step one in its plan for the tournament's final day - prepping hole Nos. 14 through 18 so that the 18 players who were prevented from completing their third rounds last night could finish beginning simultaneously at 7:30 a.m.
That's when tournament leader and three-time Farr champion Se Ri Pak (1998, '99, '01) will resume her already 8-under-par round in a bid to tie her own course-record of 10-under 61 set in the second round in 1998. Pak, who starts the day at 14-under for the tournament, will open with a 25-foot putt for birdie on 14.
Step two called for Mixdorf's crew to move on to the front side and get those nine holes in shape for the start of the final round at 9:27 a.m. Finally, the grassmasters would tackle holes 10-13.
If everything went well, Mixdorf, who began his post here in May of 2001, expected that everything would be done before the final round began.
Normally, preparation for the entire course is executed in about 90 minutes, but that is when the fairways are mowed the prior evening.
“I met with the LPGA to get their priorities so we could get those things done,” Mixdorf said. “As I expected, they wanted the greens done first, then the bunkers the fairways and the tees.”
Mixdorf said that the roughs would “just have to be a little rougher” today, and predicted that the soft course conditions would obviously make it play longer than normal. Not much different, however, than it has played through the first three days because of the rain pattern in the past two weeks.
Mixdorf indicated that no specific portions of Highland Meadows were to be hindered by standing water.
“The rain really hasn't been an issue,” he said. “With lightning [expected to be] out there, we're not allowed to go out and work.
“We've got a great staff and they've been great so far because this has been a pretty testing tournament.”