CHARLESTON, S.C. — Record-setting May heat has graced the Charleston area this week for the U.S. Women's Open, with temperatures reaching as high as 100 degrees. It's been so hot that the USGA posted extreme heat signs on video boards throughout the Country Club of Charleston property, urging fans to drink plenty of water and find shade when possible.
On Friday afternoon, while temps did reach 98 degrees, it was a different type of extreme weather that rolled in, halting play around 5 p.m. Minutes after the horn was blown, a light rain began to fall and some thunder and lightning rolled in. One lightning strike in particular literally sent shockwaves through the grounds, and it was captured by FOX Sports cameras. Here are a few clips and still photos of the strike:
The bolt actually struck a tree just left of the 18th green, causing a huge split right down the center of the tree. Volunteers were roping off the area around it in case it actually does split in half and come crashing down.
Wild scene. The strike was so loud and forceful that everyone in the media center simultaneously ducked for cover as if a bomb went off. Thankfully, no journalists were injured making such quick athletic movements. Same goes for all the competitors, volunteers and fans on the grounds. Second-round play is set to resume at 6:45 p.m.
UPDATE: To avoid any safety issues, the tree was completely removed late on Friday night. The fear was that it may split in half and come down because of how much damage the strike had done.