Streak of bad luck hits LPGA finale

RICHMOND, Texas – The momentum of this tournament hit the wall last night as the sun went down on Michelle Wie’s game. Conditions continued to conspire against the LPGA’s Tour Championship as Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the event’s schedule.

Natalie Gulbis pulled out before the start of the event due to illness (aka her back). Throw in a poor opening round from Paula Creamer (76) and Wie’s withdrawal due to a sore ankle and IMG’s biggest stars are dropping like flies.

Head rules official Doug Brecht spoke with the tour’s weatherman at 4 a.m. this morning. They studied the conditions for several hours before setting a 1 p.m. start time, a six-hour delay. Brecht referred to today’s play as “bonus golf” – golf they never expected to play.

Brecht thinks it’s possible to still get 72 holes in by Sunday if everything goes according to plan. In an ideal world, the third round will get under way Saturday at 2 p.m. after the field is cut to 70 and ties. If the weather cooperates and players keep pace, a final-round start time of 11 a.m. is possible after another cut to 30 and ties.

“There are a ton of things riding on this tournament,” said Brecht, referring to season-ending honors and playing status for 2010. “Because of that, we are committed to playing 72 holes.”

President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were supposed to be on hand Friday at the Houstonian but the weather kept them away. The former president and his wife are honorary chairpeople for the event. President Bush is a member of nearby Shadow Hawk Golf Club.

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