Anderson leads weather-halted OpenCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — North Dakota State’s Amy Anderson spends four months out of the year hitting golf balls in an indoor facility because of the cold weather. She has never really played on a mountainous course with greens as tricky as the Broadmoor’s.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — North Dakota State’s Amy Anderson spends four months out of the year hitting golf balls in an indoor facility because of the cold weather.
She has never really played on a mountainous course with greens as tricky as the Broadmoor’s.
And yet here she is, an amateur turning into one of the biggest surprises in the rain-shortened first round of the U.S. Women’s Open. Anderson worked her way to 2 under after 12 holes before play was suspended Thursday. She’s tied with Cristie Kerr for the lead.
Even Anderson, the second-team All-American, was stunned by the day’s developments. Walking up to the seventh hole, she glanced at the leaderboard, seeing her name at the top.
She wished she would’ve had a camera.
“That was surreal,” said Anderson, whose brother, Nathan, serves as her caddy. “My brother and I joked, ‘Somebody better get a picture of that. It’s not gonna be up there for very long.’”
Anderson left the course knowing she was safe for the night. She’ll wake up with the lead as she starts up her round again by putting on the 13th green, staring at a 15-footer for another birdie.
“I like being the underdog,” said Anderson, who turns 19 on Sunday. “It’s a position I’m really comfortable with. To me, I don’t expect to go out and win this or continue playing like this.
“I’m gonna try to work as hard as I can to do that, but I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”
Anderson earned her spot in the U.S. Open field through qualifying at the Medina, Minn., sectional. This after a solid second season with North Dakota State, where she won five tournaments.
Because of the snow and cold on the plains, Anderson spends a good portion of the year practicing inside on a 60-yard range that features artificial turf.
“When the spring comes around, I’m ready to go,” said Anderson, an accounting major who grew up in Oxbow, N.D. “I’m really excited.”
Anderson hasn’t spent much time putting on mountain courses. But for most of the morning she was rolling the ball well, even sinking two birdies.
For her understanding of the greens, she credits her older brother, who also plays for North Dakota State. The siblings arrived a week early and charted the challenging greens.
“He takes care of all that and I do what he tells me,” Anderson said. “I was pretty nervous on the first tee this morning and then settled down.
“First day leader? That’s way more than I could have really imagined.”
After halting play, the USGA kept the players in the clubhouse for 2 1/2 hours, but with the thunder still rumbling and the radar blinking red, officials called play. There were 75 players on the course and 66 who hadn’t hit a shot. That means nearly half the field, including defending champion Paula Creamer and Yani Tseng, trying to complete her career Grand Slam, could face 72 holes in three days.
The Broadmoor is the first U.S. Women’s Open course to measure more than 7,000 yards — quite a haul, even at 6,700 feet in altitude.
The only other players under par when play was suspended were Inbee Park (through 17), Ai Miyazato (15) and Silvia Cavalleri, who birdied her first hole before play was halted. Karrie Webb was in a group of nine still on the course at even. Michelle Wie was 7 over through 17 holes.
The best score posted among the 25 players who had finished belonged to Kristy McPherson, who shot 2-over 73. That was one shot ahead of Aree Song and seven-time major winner Juli Inkster. Before the clouds rolled in, Inkster stood for about five minutes on the fairway of the par-5, 17th hole, waiting for the green to clear before she tried a 250-yard approach shot on a hole that had been unreachable during the practice rounds.
The shot came up about 20 yards short and Inkster settled for par.
“It’s nice” to be done, Inkster said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been on the good side of the switch. It’s going to be a long day for them.”
Typical of the U.S. Open, rounds were averaging more than five hours. Some of the players were surprised the USGA didn’t wait a little longer before calling play, but the threat of rain and lightning never really abated. They’ll need perfect weather the rest of the week to close out this tournament on Sunday.