Lightning disrupts NCAA Championship first-round play
STILLWATER, Okla. – Thunderstorms were the story of day one during the 2018 NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club Friday, as play was delayed for nearly three and half hours. Exactly half of the 30-team field was able to complete the first round, while the other half, including the Kansas men’s golf team, were making the turn and will have to play extra holes Saturday to catch up to the rest of the field.
“Obviously (golf) is an outdoor sport, so weather is always a factor,” head coach Jamie Bermel said. “We just kept getting pushed back and pushed back and we tried to get out of the hotel a little bit and had some lunch. (We) Came back to the hotel and rested up again. All in all, I thought we hung in there alright.”
The Jayhawks will resume play Saturday tied for 19th at 5-over, as the KU lineup got through eight holes and some as many as 11.
Andy Spencer leads the way for the Jayhawks at 1-under. The sophomore opened his round with three-straight pars and dipped below level with a birdie on No. 13. A bogey on No. 14 put Spencer back at par, but he scored another birdie on No. 17. Through eight holes, Spencer is 1-under and tied for 24th. He will get to open play with a chance for birdie on a two-foot putt on No. 9, as play was stopped course wide at 8:38 p.m.
Senior Daniel Sutton completed nine holes Friday and tied for 37th at even par. After carding a bogey on No. 11, Sutton bounced back to even with a short birdie putt on No. 14.
Freshman Harry Hillier, originally slated to tee off at 2:10 p.m., didn’t hit his first drive until 5:38 p.m. After scoring pars on the first three holes, Hillier carded back-to-back birdies on No. 13 and No. 14 and started off at 2-under through five holes. After scoring a double bogey on No. 16 and a single bogey on No. 18, Hillier finished his front nine at 1-over par and opened his back nine with a birdie. However, a triple bogey on his final hole of the day, No. 2, sent Hillier to 3-over and tied for 99th.
Daniel Hudson opened his day with a triple bogey on No. 10, but the senior showed his experience and composure through the rest of his front nine to rattle off nine-straight pars. He is 3-over and also in a tie for 99th.
Junior Charlie Hillier double bogeyed his first hole of the day and never found a below-par score to counter it. He also added bogeys on No. 15 and No. 17 and is tied for 116th at 4-over par.
“We didn’t get off to the best start, especially in this type of format, but overall we are in a decent spot,” Bermel said.
Suspended play will resume at 7 a.m. Saturday, and round two tee times will begin as scheduled at 8 a.m.
“We need to get back to the hotel, get them fed and get rested up,” Bermel said. “Some of them are going to have at least 27 (holes Saturday) weather permitting, so it is going to be a long day.”
Saturday’s forecast in Stillwater, Oklahoma calls for sunny skies with a 10 percent chance of rain and a high of 94 degrees.
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