Under the most pristine weather conditions, Karsten Creek is among the most difficult golf courses on the AJGA schedule each year. Today's weather conditions were not ideal. So, what effect did the 20-30 mph winds have on the first round of The PING Invitational? Let's run a comparison between this year and last.
The similarities: Hole locations and yardages are nearly the same this year, except for a few tees being moved up Saturday to accommodate for dead-in-your-face winds.
The differences: Scores. Whereas eight players (four boys, four girls) shot par or better in 2010's first round, only one player, Wyndham Clark, managed to do it in 2011's opener. Kyung Kim fired the women's course record last year, a 5-under-par 67. This year, the girls' leader, Jenny Hahn, is at 2-over-par 74.
The boys' overall scoring average rose from 77.6 last year to 79.0 this year. The girls average increased more than two strokes, from 76.7 to 78.8. Holes 16, 17 and 18, where the wind was at its fiercest, are partly to blame. Last year, 18 double-bogeys or worse were recorded on the closing holes. This year, 34 doubles or worse were carded as the winds howled on the trio of holes surrounding Lake Louise.
The good news for Sunday's second round is the winds are forecasted to mellow out to 10-12 mph. The bad news is that rain has moved in to Stillwater and isn't expected to leave anytime soon. Windbreakers will be replaced by rainsuits. Any chance the bogeys will be replaced by birdies?