The English golfer held on during a rainy day at White Horse Golf Club.
KINGSTON — On a tournament day interrupted by a nearly two-hour delay after a rain-and-hail deluge, English golfer Trish Johnson played superbly and holds a four-stroke lead heading into Sunday’s final round of the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup at White Horse Golf Club.
Johnson, 52, shot a 6-under 66 in the Legends Tour event. She was 5-under after playing 10 holes before “the heavens opened” as she described it just before 3 p.m. When play resumed, she played the remaining holes 1-under.
Tied for second entering the final 18 holes in the 36-hole tournament are a pair of Minnesota golfers, Michele Redman and Lisa Grimes, at 2-under. The only other golfer under par on the 5,505-yard test Saturday was Michelle McGann, at 1-under.
“At least we finished,” McGann said. “When we were sitting out on the 14th fairway, the hail was coming down, and we didn’t think we were going to make it.”
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Weather remains on the minds of tournament officials, and Sunday’s tee times have been moved up one hour to 9 a.m. for the first of the 15 twosomes to avoid an incoming weather system. Johnson and Grimes will tee off last at 11:20 a.m.
Johnson, who has played on eight European Solheim Cup teams, won last year’s Senior LPGA Championship. She is a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour and 19-time winner on the European Tour.
JoAnne Carner, 79, the Kirkland native who is the undisputed best female golfer in state history, was 2-over par through 13 holes when the storm hit, but as she put it, “I lost it when we came back.” She finished with a 5-over 77.
Carner, two-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open, has an exemption into the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open July 12-15 at the Chicago Golf Club and plans to play.
It was a debut day on the Legends Tour for another player with state ties. Wendy Ward, who lives on a cattle ranch near Edwall, outside Spokane, finished 1-over 73 before the storm struck. Her round included making a 48-foot putt on No. 9 but later three-putting from 12 feet on the par-3 17th hole. She saved par on the par-4 18th hole with a sand save.
Ward said she has been doing more teaching than playing and that the 73 was her best round of the year.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun competing out here,” Ward said of joining the Legends Tour. After the four-time winner on the LPGA Tour made her final putt on No. 18, she kissed her caddie, who happens to be her husband, Nate Hair, a good golfer himself who won the state Masters 40 men’s amateur title in 2014.
The purse for the no-cut, 30-player tournament is $175,000 and the winner’s share is $25,000.
The Legends Tour is the official senior tour of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Golfers are age 45 and older. The tournament is believed to be the first visit of a national tour to a Kitsap County course. The tournament is scheduled to return next year.
Many of the competitors participated in the LPGA Tour’s Safeco Classic that ran from 1982-99 at the Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent.
“It’s great to be back in the Northwest again,” said McGann.
• Free shuttles will operate Sunday from the Kingston and Bainbridge Island ferries to the tournament for foot passengers. Adult admission to the tournament is $15, and children 12-and-under are free. Boeing employees with Boeing ID also get in free.
• White Horse Golf Club, which opened in 2007, is a property of the Suquamish Indian Tribe.