Futures Day 1 - Dry, At Last
pblackwell, Fri, July 31st, 2009
As day one of the Futures Tour Alliance Bank Golf Classic wound down at Drumlins East, the sun was setting, giving all the players still out on the course as much time as possible to finish up before darkness.
That was because, all morning long, the sun failed to make an appearance.
Instead, you had rain, six hours of it. Though never dangerous, it poured hard enough to put puddles on many greens and, at 9:10, just an hour and 20 minutes after they started, everyone came back to the clubhouse to wait it out.
Not until 1:30 did it dry up enough for play to resume. A saturated course, no wind, an ideal chance for the 72 players in the morning shift to go deep into the red. And they did.
In all, 19 players broke par and nine others matched it in 71, as the numerous hills and sloping greens did little to deter the birdies.
And no one made more of them than Angela Buzminski, the long-hitting Futures veteran from Ontario, who took the early lead with five-under-par 66.
The irony was that Buzminski didn't do her damage on the par-5s. Rather, her bogey-free round included three birdies on par-3s - the uphill 8th, difficult 12th and downhill 16th.
Just behind Buzminski, Korean Seo-Jae Lee also went bogey-free in her four-under-par 67, the lone player on that total. Four others - Jenny Suh, Taylor Leon, Lindsey Bergeon and Stephanie Otteson - toured Drumlins East in 68.
Back in the group at 69 were a pair of big names - Jean Reynolds, the leading Futures money winner in 2009, and Kim Welch, the defending champion.
Playing with Ithaca native Lori Atsedes (who had 72) and last week's winner, Misun Cho (73), Welch made seven straight pars at the start, then got birdies on 8 and 10 before a bogey on 12. Welch's best moment came at the 17th, where her short approach landed less than a foot from the hole to put her back at two under.
Atsedes, playing less than an hour from her home in Ithaca, saved her round with late birdies at 15 and 18. If she makes the cut, she will become the all-time Futures money-winner, surpassing Marilyn Lovander, the 1999 champion of this event.
Each of the 72 afternoon starters did get out on the course, some going well past the turn before darkness hit. Of them, no one stood better than two under, three behind Buzminski.
Now those players get set for a Saturday marathon in what promises to be warm sunshine. They start at 7:30 a.m., then head immediately to their second round, which starts at 10:10. Buzmniski, Lee, Welch and the other 72 players start at 2:30, and they should nearly catch up by the time the sun sets again.