OAKMONT, Pa. -- It figured to be an unusual day when the Oakmont Country Club course yielded four subpar rounds among the first four groups to finish the first round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament yesterday.
First, it was Kris Tschetter at 1-under-par 70, then Muffin Spencer-Devlin, Donna Andrews, and Nancy Ramsbottom put up More than eight hours later, they were still at the top of the leader board, along with Tracy Kerdyk and Patty Sheehan.
In between, was a 3-hour, 58-minute rain and lightning delay, with play being resumed at 4:22 p.m. At the time, only six of 52 threesomes had finished.
At the end, there were 66 players on the course, including Sarah Ingram, a former Baltimore resident now living in Nashville, Tenn. First-round play will be resumed at 7 a.m today. The second round will follow.
Ingram was 2-over par through No. 7, and Kim Williams, from Potomac, was 4 over through 13.
Baltimorean Tina Barrett shot 38-35--73. Three-over par after five holes, she played the last 13 2-under. There were four birdies in the last 10 holes, including a 15-foot putt at No. 11 (her first hole after the delay); a 40-footer at the 14th, and a tap-in at the 17th after a wedge shot at the 285-yard uphill, dogleg test.
Two 3-putts marred an otherwise solid back nine, although she said she didn't drive well. Still, the fourth-year pro has hit it well enough all season to rank fifth in accuracy. For the round, she hit 11 fairways and took 30 putts.
Donna Andrews, a second-year pro from Lynchburg, Va., was 4-under par for 16 holes and in position to be the sole leader, before incurring a two-stroke penalty at the 17th green.
She made four on the hole, but, in addressing her ball she accidentally hit the ball with a practice stroke. She did not replace the ball, and two-putted for par.
Later, in the scoring tent, before signing her card, a USGA official conferred with her. Because it was practice and she did not intend to hit the ball, she drew a stroke penalty for moving the ball and another stroke penalty for not returning it to its original spot.
PD "That never happened to me before," she said. "I didn't know the
rule, but I do now. I thought it was only a one-stroke penalty."
Kerdyk, the only other player to get to 4-under par, and Sheehan got to 2-under with birdies at the 17th; Ramsbottom, without a Top 10 finish since 1988, played the last 15 holes 5-under, including birdies at the 12th and 14th; and Spencer-Devlin dropped to 2-under when she failed to get up and down from a bunker at the 15th.
Sheehan, who has won twice in the past four weeks, finished with a flourish, birdieing three of her last five holes. The player who lost the 1990 Open by losing a seven-shot lead in nine holes, also saved par four times and ended with 27 putts.
Ramsbottom (hit 11 fairways) and Kerdyk (12 fairways) each had 26 putts, low for the day.
Spencer-Devlin, the most experienced of the leaders as a 14-year pro, needed a great shot at the 18th to preserve her share of the lead.
"I pull-yanked my tee shot into the trees and the ball wound up in front of the 14th green [two fairways away]," she said. "I had about a 25-foot opening between a broadcast booth and a scoreboard. With 168 yards to the pin, my 4-iron shot stopped 20 feet from the cup.
NOTES: Former Baltimorean Beans Kelly, the women's coach at the University of Georgia, is caddying for sophomore star, Vicki Goetze, 2-over after nine holes.