Weather conditions prevented University of Victoria Vikes men’s golfer Lawren Rowe from completing his second round at the NAIA men’s golf national championship, hosted May 16-19 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Rowe’s tee time was delayed an hour due to morning play suspensions from heavy rain and winds and course officials eventually decided to postpone play to May 18.
“It was really tough conditions out there today with winds gusting as high as 60 miles per hour,” described Justin Clews, Vikes men’s golf head coach. “There were some holes where the ball was resting on the green and then it actually moved due to the strong winds. It’s probably the windiest conditions I have ever seen where players had to golf. We got through 11 holes and then play was suspended due to nearby thunderstorms and even a tornado warning.”
After finishing 2-over par in his opening round, Rowe started out a little rocky finishing 3-over par after his first six holes. A quality birdie putt on the par 3 seventh hole got the third-year Vike back to 2-over but an errant approach to the par-4 ninth hole left Rowe with another bogey and a 38 after the front nine holes.
“Unfortunately Lawren was struggling with his swing a bit and I’m sure the windy conditions had an impact on this,” said Clews of his only men’s golfer to qualify for this year’s championship. “Lawren now stands 6-over through 11 holes and I think the suspension of play is a good thing so he can regroup tomorrow.”
Rowe and the rest of the field will have a daunting third day, making up the remainder of their second round and playing a full 18 holes to complete their third of four rounds. Rowe is currently tied for 18th in a field of 155.
“There is still a lot of golf to be played so we just need to claw our way back tomorrow,” added Clews. “It will be a long day but we are determined to pull through and move up the leader board. The forecast is wind yet again for tomorrow so we will have to play smart and let the birdies come.”
First-round leader Cardinal Stritch, who had its morning round interrupted by the rain, followed its opening 289 with a 306 Wednesday. The Wolves' 595 remains the top score in the clubhouse.
The three closest teams to Cardinal Stritch after Round 1 - Johnson & Wales, Wayland Baptist and British Columbia - were unable to complete their rounds. Grand View, which was in fifth place after opening with a 296, shot a 315 to sit with a 611, 16 shots out of the lead.
None of the first-round individual leaders completed Wednesday's round.