HOYLAKE, England (AP) – Play was called off for the day at the Women's British Open on Friday because of strong wind that disrupted the second round so badly that organizers declared early scores “null and void.''
With wind gusting to 60 mph at Royal Liverpool, players struggled to keep the ball on the tees and greens. Play was suspended at 8:25 a.m. with 36 players on the course and the round was called off at 2 p.m.
“I think it's only the right thing to do,'' Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen said. “The conditions were unreasonable. … I don't think from the players' perspective that there was any other outcome. It wasn't just unfair conditions. It was unplayable. “
England's Felicity Johnson started with a quintuple-bogey 9. American Cristie Kerr's ball blew off the 12th tee three times. Co-leader So Yeon Ryu bogeyed her only hole, the 10th, before play was stopped.
“It would have been unfair to those competitors not to declare play null and void and cancel all scores for the round in question,'' Ladies Golf Union tournament director Susan Simpson said.
“The competitors began their round in extremely adverse weather conditions and conditions subsequently worsened despite our belief that they would remain stable.''
The second round is scheduled to restart early Saturday, with conditions forecast to be more playable. Organizers said the cut will be reduced from 65 and ties to 50 and ties.
The final two rounds are set for Sunday with a two-tee start and no redraw between rounds.
Michelle Wie, one of the tallest players in the field, saw a lighter side.
“I think it's one day that's really good to be short, because I felt like a flagpole out there,'' she said.
With strong wind forecast for Monday, officials hope the tournament will not extend to a fifth day.
Ryu and fellow South Korean player Haeji Kang topped the leaderboard at 2-under 70.
Australia's Karrie Webb, the tournament winner in 1995, 1997 and 2002, was a stroke back along with 16-year-old English amateur Charley Hull, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, Stacey Keating, Lydia Hall, Vicky Hurst and Kate Kutcher. Two-time defending champion Yani Tseng opened with a 72. New Zealand's Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old amateur coming off a victory three weeks ago in the Canadian Women's Open, also was at 72.
Wie had a 75 in the first round in relatively calm conditions, and Pettersen shot a 76.
“It was a long day for sure and waiting,'' Wie said. “Came to the course at 5 a.m. It was dark at that point and I was walking past the third hole and it was raining sideways. I've never seen conditions like that in my life. Got there, stopped raining, but the wind kept blowing and blowing and kept getting worse.
“It was hard to tell at the first tee because it was sheltered with a tent a little bit. But once we got out there, 11, 12, it was pretty bad.''
England's Karen Stupples, the 2004 winner at Sunningdale, teed off in the first group at 7 a.m. after shooting a 76 on Thursday.
“On the third, my ball started oscillating and it wouldn't stop,'' Stupples said. “It just sat there and just kept moving and I had to call for an official to come and figure out what the ruling was with that, and she said, `Hit it. Even if it's oscillating, you can hit it.' I'm like, `Really?'
“It's quite disconcerting, because how do you hit a moving ball? Because it can wobble a little bit, and you catch it not quite where you used to. I don't know, it can affect everything, and it did. I made double bogey there. I've seen balls roll because of a wind gust, but not a continual just blowing constant. That was just brutal.''