DAVIDSON, N.C. — Another day filled with rain at River Run Country Club caused second round play in the Symetra Classic to be suspended at 3:53 p.m., and rule officials deciding to trim the tournament to a 36-hole competition.
“A tropical storm system came up from the Gulf and has hit us with a little over three inches of rain,” said Tiffany Priest, the Symetra Tour’s Advance Rule Official for the Symetra Classic. “Unfortunately, we had to suspend play to let the course drain. We couldn’t finish all the rounds today and still have the whole afternoon wave to get out on the course.”
A 25-minute delay shortly after play started today was just a foreshadow of what was to come. At 12:35 p.m., the second delay put a halt to the action, eventually for good.
“The rain we had today wasn’t throughout the golf course, it was more isolated showers back over (Nos.) 13, 14 and 15 in the morning. Then in the afternoon, it was more on 12 and 16,” said River Run Country Club superintendent Ron Ritchie, who helped design and build the course from 1989-1991, then left and returned in 2010. “They were very spotty. It was different parts of the golf course that were playable and unplayable.”
With precipitation falling on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, in addition to the past two days, the course has accumulated several inches of water and become very saturated.
Some players that started the second round today managed to finish, while others will have to wait until tomorrow. Having to hit the pause button and reset to start up again on another day can definitely be a momentum killer.
“Absolutely because I felt like I was playing good, then we got the horn blow to be able to finish the hole,” said Erica Popson (Davenport, Florida), who is two-under par through 15 holes in the second round and currently tied for seventh at even par. “I thought it was going to rain a lot faster so I kind of rushed and made bogey, which was disappointing. Sometimes having three holes, if you can birdie one or two of them, you’re sitting pretty in the clubhouse.”
Meanwhile, 18-hole leader Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) did not even need to come to the course. She will tee at 9:51 a.m. tomorrow off No. 10, still the overall solo leader at 3-under par.
However, one shot back are two Sweden natives in Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) and Louise Ridderström (Stocksund, Sweden). Both players sit at 3-under par for the round, with Haglund through 12 holes and Ridderström through 10.
“I started the round pretty well, hitting the ball much better than I did yesterday,” said Ridderström, also bogey-free in the stretch she played today. “A lot more confident on the greens since last week. I’ve worked on that for quite some time now, so I’m happy to see that it paid off.”
Furthermore, a group of three players near the top of the leaderboard at 1-under par include Clariss Guce (Artesia, California), Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma) and Karolina Vlckova (Kladno, Czech Republic).
They will return to chasing Ardina at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.
“When we come back, I will just treat that as if we were starting over again,” said Guce, who went 4-under par through 14 holes today. “It’s not like I have the lead. I want to try to put as low of a score as I can.”
TIFFANY PRIEST INTERVIEW
POPSON FINALLY GETTING COMFORTABLE
After missing the cut in two of the first four events this season, Erica Popson finds herself near the top of the leaderboard in the Symetra Classic.
Last week at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic, Popson finished tied for 32nd. Meanwhile, entering the final day of competition this week at River Run Country Club following the second round suspension today, she is tied for seventh at even par.
“This year has not started the way I wanted to,” said Popson, who has three holes remaining in her Symetra Classic start. “It’s nice to at least be in a good spot, hopefully get a good finish this week and build some momentum moving forward.”
Even though 16 events remain on the 2018 schedule, there is always a desire to see hard work come to fruition through results.
“This is only the fifth tournament of the year,” Popson said. “I kind of freaked out a couple weeks ago. Normally at this point, we are seven or eight in. There’s a long, long season left, but it’s nice to see some better golf.”
To help jumpstart Popson, her cousin Tony surprised her by coming in from Dallas to caddy for the Symetra Classic. He has been on the bag for one LPGA Tour event and one Symetra Tour tournament prior to this.
“He saw that I’ve been struggling and was like, ‘I’m going to come out, have some fun with you and see if we can get you turned in the right direction,’” said Popson. “It’s always nice having a Popson carrying Popson’s bag.”
LOUISE RIDDERSTROM INTERVIEW