The third round of the NCAA Division III Women's Golf championship was canceled, with nearly 60% of the 151-player field eliminated with play.
the reason? an impossible hole.
While bad weather postponed the game on Thursday afternoon, it was not rain or lightning that prompted the decision. Instead, it was due to a hole location that, as determined by the NCAA, was too severe for play.
The hole in question was the 308-yard, par-4 sixth at the Mission Inn and Resort's El Campion course in Howe-in-the-Hills, florida. According to the instructors, the hole was cut on a 5 percent slope to the right of the green—and later in the day, course crews watered the putting surface in an attempt to soften the severity of the slope.
It didn't help much. Around 8 p.m. ET, the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Committee finalized the decision to revert the championship to 36-hole scores and shorten the event to 54 holes, with more storms forecast for Friday afternoon.
“During the third round on Thursday, and despite efforts to improve conditions, it became clear that the pin on hole No. 6 was unplayable,” the committee said in a statement to GolfChannel.com. “After play was suspended due to lightning late on Thursday night, the committee analyzed a number of different options on how to complete the tournament in the allotted time.”
Several videos of players hitting holes were shared with GolfChannel.com, and they showed 10- to 20-foot putts from the bottom of the hole, either short of the cup or rolling past it, but all in the end were losing momentum and basically reverting back. players' feet.
The NCAA is responsible for pin placement in each round, not the course.
Also, this is the eighth time the championship has been contested at the Mission Inn.
“Should have known not to put them [the hole] There,” said a coach, who said Tuesday's first round also featured four questionable hole locations. “He just said he was sorry and he felt bad.”
GolfStat's live scoring page, which has since erased Round 3 statistics, showed No. 6 as one shot-and-a-half over par as the toughest ever played on the golf course, with 29 others (triple bogey or worse). ) and, somehow, five birdies.
“I saw two birdies,” added the same coach. “If it didn't go in, it would have gone 25 yards from the green.”
Claremont Mudd Scripps had posted four scores of 79 or better to gain two shots over 36-hole leader George Fox University, before finishing third round scores. Instead, George Fox, at 45-over, will hold his five-shot lead entering Friday's final round. Emory had cut the gap between himself and George Fox to seven shots thanks to his round of the championship so far, a 17-over 309, but would now return to a 10-shot deficit.
The top 15 teams also made the cut, with another 14 teams being eliminated from the competition based on their 36-hole scores. The committee selected six additional individuals not from the advancing teams, bringing the total to 12 players for the final round, which begins Friday at 8 a.m. ET.
One coach told GolfChannel.com that the coaches were probably split on the NCAA's decision to cancel the round, but they personally felt it was the right call.
“I think so,” the coach said of the sixth hole, adding: “It was ridiculous.”