The conditions in the final round of the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open produced plenty of drama, and not in a good way.
After a series of stops and starts Sunday at Windross Farm Golf Course, play was suspended for the day at 5:16 p.m. local time. But some competitors felt that the handling of that final delay potentially put them in danger.
Heavy rain halted play for two hours early in the day and dangerous weather made for a nearly two-and-a-half-hour delay in the afternoon. Play would then resume at 4:53 p.m. local time before being shelved for the day 23 minutes later.
What was the issue? The moniker “dangerous weather” was fitting. Brutally high winds began whipping across the course, dislodging signage and forcing players to duck and huddle for safety.
Here’s footage of the terrifying conditions:
Having to stay out there in those gale-force conditions (coupled with strong rain and cold temperatures) left a number of players critical of the lack of safety they felt.
In the video, Belen Mozo – who led the tournament after 54 holes – can been seen trying to duck for cover as a gust of high wind comes through and signs start tumbling into the frame.
Afterward, Mozo voiced her concern to an official that someone could’ve gotten hurt by the flying signs and exclaimed that the players are “like sheeps” out there.
She took to Twitter to reiterate her grievance.
Mozo was far from alone, though.
Brittany Lincicome also was not pleased with how this situation was handled.
Danielle Kang joined in as well.
In a series of since deleted tweets, the reigning KPMG Women’s PGA champion concurred with the others on the danger here. She added that a lack of on-course sheltering played a role in the danger and that fans were also put in harm’s way.
A storm packing more gale-force winds was expected to hit the region Sunday night. As of now, the tournament is expected to resume Monday with a 72-hole finish still the plan. If the final round cannot be completed, Mozo will be declared the champion thanks to her low 54-hole total.
Brooke Henderson, 3 under through six in her final round, currently holds a four-shot lead at 17 under over Mozo and Lincicome. Of course, if the final round can’t be completed, that final-round progress is wiped out.
However this tournament finishes up, Sunday’s events certainly appeared to be a frightening experience for many involved. Hopefully no more safety issues pop up before the action closes in New Zealand.