ALBUQUERQUE--Southern California coach__Andrea Gaston__ said she felt like eating her words Wednesday afternoon regarding the University of New Mexico Championship Course. "I said [yesterday] I was hoping to see this course's teeth," Gaston said. "I think today we just saw the jaws."
Indeed, the predicted winds came with a fury during the morning wave of the second round of the NCAA Women's Championship, blowing so hard--30 mph with gusts of 40-45 mph--as to force tournament officials to suspend play at 1:10 p.m. local time.
When the horn sounded, the last threesomes for the first wave of teams were on their final holes, allowing six schools to finish their rounds. They included day-one leader USC, which shot a 12-over 300, and UCLA, whose seven-over 295 allowed them to catch the Trojans at eight-over 584 through 36 holes.
Left on the course was Arizona State, which stood a nine over for the tournament, and three-time defending NCAA champion Duke, at 16-over overall. Playing in the afternoon wave, Oklahoma State had two players yet to complete a hole but the Cowgirls were the low team a five over.
As difficult as the conditions were, there were some players posting sub-par scores. USC sophomore Belen Mozo shot a second-round 71 to put her at four-under 140 overall. The 2006 British Ladies Amateur champion from Spain said she had played in strong winds in many events in Europe but this was particularly fierce.
"It was ridiculous out there," Mozo said. "You just had to completely forget playing golf like you ordinarily do and play how the wind wants you to play, aim where the wind wants you to play."
Starting on the 10th hole, Mozo birdied the 10th and 17th, but missed the green on the second and fourth holes en route to bogeys. A birdie on the sixth hole allowed her to get back into red numbers.
"Par today is up to 76 easily," Gaston said. "Shooting 71 is more like shooting 66. She did a great job of calculating the wind."
Topping Mozo's play was UCLA's Tiffany Joh, who carded a three-under 69. Also playing the back nine first, the junior made six birdies in her first nine holes to turn in five under, before making a double bogey on No. 1.
"I felt more like we were playing Frogger out there, trying to dodge pine cones," Joh said. "I was just trying to get through the round."
Arizona State's Azahara Munoz was three under on the day through 13 holes when play stopped, putting her at six-under overall and in the lead individually.
At 2:35 p.m., NCAA officials met with the coaches to tell them they hoped to resume play within a half hour as reports suggested there was a change the winds will calm somewhat. Tina Krah, associate director of championships for the NCAA, said that play had been stopped because balls were moving on four different greens.