Heather Bowie Young made five straight birdies while hop-scotching across the golf course on Friday in the Bahamas LPGA Classic.
The American made birdies on half of the 12 holes the LPGA Tour set up for a six-under 39 at the Ocean Club, giving her a one-shot lead in the middle of a long, strange opening round that had no chance of finishing because of a three-hour delay.
The tournament is different in so many ways.
Severe flooding earlier in the week left much of the course under water. The LPGA decided to use the holes that were available, and two of those holes had to be converted into par-threes because bunkers had caved in from 30cm of rain that fell in a five-hour stretch on Tuesday night.
The hope was to complete three rounds of 12 holes to make the inaugural event official. On the LPGA Tour, 36 holes have to be completed for it to count.
Even with a short course, that goal looked to be in trouble when a large, black cloud moved over the course and rumbled with thunder, leading to the long delay.
Anna Nordqvist ran off three straight birdies early in her round and closed with a birdie for a five-under 40, tied with Lisa McCloskey. A half-dozen players at 41 included Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lang.
Nordqvist fared much better than the other two players in her group — Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis, No. 1 and No. 2 in the world rankings.
Park failed to make a single birdie in her round of one-over 46.
Lewis was going along fine until the par-fvie 11th, her sixth hole. She pulled her second shot just into a bunker, leaving an awkward third shot from about 50 yards that had to clear another bunker. She clipped it clean, and it sailed over the back of the green and into the water, leading to a double-bogey.
Lewis birdied her next two holes and had a one-under 44.
Of Taiwan’s players, Amy Hung fared best with a one-under 44, Candie Kung shot an even-par 45, while former world No. 1 Yani Tseng’s poor form continued with a one-over 46.
Everyone teed off on No. 10 and then headed to the front nine.
Park was leaving the green when she stopped to make sure she knew where she was going — a 120-yard walk across a waste area to the sixth tee. They played sixth and the seventh, and then headed over to the fourth hole. That is when it got really crowded.
At one point, there were nine players in a 50-yard radius.
Laura Davies had a two-under 43. She was all smiles on her way to the golf course and full of quips.
“This should be a lot of fun,” Davies said. “I just hope I don’t get disqualified if I can’t find my way to the next tee. I’ll just walk slow and follow everybody else.”
Additional reporting by staff writer