Mountain Golf at the USGA Open -- Ladies Only
I recently read a well-written piece on Erik Compton’s triumph on the Nationwide Tour in Leon, Mexico. Leon is centrally located just south of the country’s capital, in the same mountain chain that meets our Rocky Mountains. Compton, you may know, is a double-heart transplant recipient and had quite a struggle on his way to victory a week or so back. I note this to give a sense of what the women golfers are facing this week at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado.
Mountain golf is a different species of animal. It drains on you from your arrival at the places where the air is thinner. Located in Colorado Springs, a place that the Air Force academy and many USA Olympic teams call home, The Broadmoor presents the tiring effects of thin air and heaving topography that wears physically on an athlete.
Christie Kerr, one of the top players in the game and the 2010 LPGA champion, is currently tied atop the weather-delayed leader board. She has 15 holes in at 2 under par, which counts for quite a bit. Even with her is one of the most delightful stories in the game, Amy Anderson. Anderson is a rising junior at North Dakota State, evidently a hotbed of college golf these days. Anderson is also a USGA champion, holder of the 2009 national girls championship.
A mid-morning round weather delay in a national championship is a nightmare. Your entire afternoon wave is delayed over 24 hours and bluecoats start to scramble to determine contingency plans. Some of the most talented and lauded players in the game (Yani Tseng, Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen) have yet to smell the practice range for warm-up. Add the mental strain to the physical fatigue and the 2011 USGA Open becomes a double endurance test, fitting for a city that trains warriors and Olympic athletes.
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