Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Confusion reigns at Farr


Natalie Gulbis was able to complete 17 holes in the Farr's delayed third round yesterday and shares the lead at 12-under par.


The Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Confusion, er Kroger, will presumably come to a conclusion today.

That's if the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise any higher than it already has.

That's if the new Bridge over the River Slop, the bridge to the bridge, so to speak, stands a one-day test of time.

That's if there's no artificial deadline for completion of the final round, as there was for third-round play.

Confused? Well, allow us to sort it all out.

The Farr leaders after 53 and 52 holes, respectively, were Natalie Gulbis, Mi Hyun Kim, and Reilley Rankin at 12-under par.

Gulbis and Kim completed 17 holes and Rankin 16 before third-round play was suspended last night at 8.

Paula Creamer and four-time Farr champion Se Ri Pak, who will bid for a slice of tour history today, are 11-under. Young Jo is 10-under through 14 holes. Annika Sorenstam, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, is lurking at 8-under after finishing with a birdie at No. 16.

Only three players finished and the leader in the clubhouse is Nina Reis, who eagled No. 18 to close out her front nine, at 3-under 210. She was in the first group to tee off on No. 10. The lead group, which started off

No. 1 at the same time, 3:20 p.m., did not finish by 8, mainly because a logjam on the 10th tee at the turn and slow play associated with course conditions.

Why was play stopped with another 40 minutes or so to go before darkness set in?

"We wanted to give the maintenance crew a chance to get some work done in daylight," said Robert O. Smith, the LPGA's presiding rules boss. "They hadn't been able to get the mowers out on fairways and greens and the fairways are sort of getting out of hand. The players were very understanding of why we stopped play."

Said Gulbis, who birdied two of her last three holes to leap back into the lead: "The golf course people have busted their rear ends so this tournament can be played. We understand their situation."

Superintendent Mark Mixdorf and his staff - plus volunteers from several other area clubs - did the impossible by getting a badly flooded course playable by 11 yesterday morning.

That allowed second-round play to be completed and the third round to at least be started.

"I didn't give us much of a chance to play anywhere near that much golf," said the LPGA's Smith. "It's amazing what some [course maintenance] crews can do and this one is about as good as I've ever seen."

Players were shuttled around and through deep-water situations that affected a number of tees and greens. When Creamer's cart came down the hill from No. 2 tee to green, she dipped one of her clubs into the water and pretended to row, drawing a big laugh from playing partner Gulbis, who owned a one-shot lead at 9-under after completion of the second round.

Sorenstam said it was "like a flume ride," and Sung Ah Yim, in contention at 9-under through 16 holes, said it was "like Disneyland."

They all had plenty to smile and laugh about. Gulbis and Creamer shot 3-under through 17 holes and Rankin was even better at 4-under for the day through No. 16.

"It has been crazy so far, but it seems like things aren't normal on the LPGA if we don't have to play more than 18 holes on Sunday," Creamer said. "It has been that kind of year.

"It's going to be a battle. Nobody is really running away with it. It should be an exciting final round."

Third-round play was scheduled to resume at 7:30 this morning. The earliest the final round will start is 10:30, again using a two-tee starting format, with the leaders expected to leave the No. 1 tee at about 12:50 p.m.

The LPGA sent the leaders off first in the third round, which is highly unusual and will not be repeated today. A tournament spokesman said it was done to benefit the spectators.

In the midst of all the golf - and craziness - a local construction firm spent yesterday building a temporary scaffold-like bridge over standing water at the end of the No. 1 fairway to the existing bridge over Ten Mile Creek. It will be used today by players, caddies and fans, according to Smith.

"I've never seen anything like that before, work like that being done in the middle of a round," he said. "But I'll tell you, it's a pretty good bridge. That baby isn't going anywhere."

Neither, perhaps, is Sorenstam, who ran in an eight-foot putt on No. 15 to close her round.

"We knew they were going to blow the siren at 8, we just hoped to play as many holes as possible," she said.

"It seems like a lot of people are shooting low and I'm going to have to do the same tomorrow. I have to make some birdies. Now, though, all I want is to go home and take a hot shower. Wait. I mean a cold shower."

The golfers played in 90-degree temperatures and high humidity yesterday and it will be more of the same today.

If Pak, who has three more holes to play to complete the third round, should finish on top she would become just the third player in LPGA history to win the same tour event five times.

"I hadn't realized," she said. "Mickey Wright did it. Who else? Annika?

"To be the next person to do that would be pretty cool. But I'm not thinking about it. I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself."

Contact Dave Hackenberg at:

or 419-724-6398.

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