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Brooke Henderson stamps her class in Auckland's horror weather

Brooke Henderson and sister Brittany shelter from the weather (Photo: Photo Sport NZ)
The McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open has experienced a chaotic Sunday at Windross Farm in Auckland, three weather delays and a near mini tornado ensuring the event goes into extra time on Monday morning with Brooke Henderson bursting clear of the field with three birdies in her first five holes.

Henderson birdied the 2nd, 4th and 5th holes before an initial weather break sent players packing from the golf course as Henderson was getting set to play her second to the 6th.

After nearly two hours of decision making between tournament organisers and the LPGA Tour a decision was made to have the players continue their rounds until darkness with the balance of the holes not completed by that point, played on Monday morning.

While such a decision may appear reasonable enough on the surface the logistics and costs involved in changing dates include travel schedule changes and television considerations and some were not exactly pleased with the decision made by the LPGA to ensure 72 holes would be completed.

It did not seem such a requirement three weeks ago at the Evian Championship in France but the insistence by the LPGA Tour to complete 72 holes come hell or high water in the inaugural McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open not only cost the tournament organisers a lot of extra money it cost the LPGA Tour a little credibility given what appears to be double standards.

Surely if it was good enough for the Evian Championship to lose a day the same could be said for the NZ Open although agreed they are at other ends of the tournament.

Either way, Henderson now leads by four over third round leader Belen Mozo and Brittany Lincicome, the trio unable to finish the seventh hole after weather caused two earlier delays.

The 7th hole, just a few minutes after their return at 4.45, would though prove the final nail in the coffin for additional play on day four.

Once on the green, all three players were forced to take evasive cover as a mini tornado like wind swept advertising billboards racing across the green nearly hitting several people and causing officials to call play off for the day, the weather deemed too dangerous to continue.

At that point Henderson led by four over Mozo who, chasing her first LPGA Tour title, had three putted three of her first seven holes and fell behind after taking a one shot lead into the final day.

Lincicome though had made a mess of the par 3 7th after finding the water at the 7th and when she returns tomorrow she will need to two putt from the front of the green to save bogey.

Jing Yan and Nicole Broch Larsen are tied for 4th one shot behind Mozo and Lincicome.

Australia’s Su Oh is putting together an impressive round in the trying conditions and at 3 under through nine holes and 11 under for the tournament she is in outright 6th position at 11 under although still six shots from Henderson’s lead.

Sarah Kemp is the next best of the Australians in a share of 19th place with eight holes to play of her final round.

But the day belonged to Henderson however. Already a four time tour LPGA Tour winner, Henderson missed a putt of about three feet for birdie at the 6th hole giving her chasers a reprieve although that might not be for long when she returns to complete her round.

The weather issues have left a dampener on what has been an otherwise outstanding debut for the LPGA Tour in New Zealand.    

Let’s hope tomorrow’s final round is completed without incident and the near debacle of today is soon forgotten  

 

 

 

     

  

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Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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