BOCA RATON, Fla.— How cold was it? Brooke Henderson, who was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, and was a hockey goalie until she was 14, had hand warmers in her pocket for the third round of the Gainbridge LPGA on Saturday.
And Lexi Thompson, who was born in Coral Springs and now lives in Delray Beach, was asked if, as a South Florida native, she would have played a casual round of golf on Saturday?
“I would have tried, but I probably wouldn’t have done it for very long,” he said.
But it wasn’t so much the high temperatures in the mid 40s that wreaked havoc on the scores in Boca Rio. It was the sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 33 mph that made club selection and hitting the ball difficult. Even on the greens.
“Yeah, I definitely felt like we were back home today,” said Henderson, who shot 2-for-74 and is 3-under for the tournament, eight shots behind leader Lydia Ko.
Lexi Thompson, who grew up in South Florida, is all smiles after finishing round three of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio Golf Club on a cold and windy Saturday. Andrés Leiva, THE PALM BEACH POST
It was so cold on Saturday that…
So how cold was it? Even the most die-hard fans of Ron DeSantis would have worn a face mask. Fighting for your constitutional rights has its limits.
When someone yelled “go ahead,” it might have been a warning to the falling iguanas.
Saturday’s average score of 75.1 was 4.6 shots higher than Thursday and three shots worse than Friday. Only five golfers were in the red, including Celine Boutier, who had a remarkable round of 3-under with no bogeys that put her three shots off the lead. Boutier grew up in France. Now he lives in Dallas.
“Growing up in Europe, obviously we play a lot of golf in the UK, so you’re used to it by now,” Boutier said.
Stacy Lewis, hitting the 10th green during the third round of Saturday’s Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio Golf Club, said weather is the great equalizer in golf. Andrés Leiva, THE PALM BEACH POST
Lewis, who turned pro in 2008, believes the weather is a great equalizer. And the scores back it up. The same two golfers at the top of the leaderboard from the first two rounds are the Nos. 1 and 2 entering Sunday’s final round. The difference is that Ko’s par 72 on Saturday gives her a 2-shot lead over Danielle Kang, who had 2-shots. Ko is 11 under for the tournament.
“As I get older, I need more days like this,” said the 36-year-old Lewis, who hit a 72 and sits seven shots behind Ko. “If it’s hot and nice and sunny, Nelly is 50 (yards) from me and it’s a completely different day.”
Nelly is Nelly Korda, the world’s top ranked female golfer from Bradenton. Korda didn’t handle conditions very well on Saturday with a 76, including four bogeys on the front nine. He is 11 shots behind Ko.
Korda began his round sporting a pair of oversized gloves, perfect for the slopes outside of Beijing next week, but usually about as useful as a snow blower in South Florida. He flailed his hands to keep the blood circulating early in his round before swapping gloves for a club before each strike.
The combination of wind and cold added two or three club lengths to many shots. Lewis hit a 4-iron for his 163-yard approach shot on the fifth hole, a club that normally hits 185 yards.
The ball landed three feet from the passer.
“You have to play these things a few times to really learn how to do it and how to make the shots,” Lewis said. “You can see him a little bit with Nelly today, just trying to make full shots where maybe little ones were needed.”
Kang prepared for cold conditions
That’s why Kang, who lives in Las Vegas, layered up and played on the most miserable days this winter. Kang was unhappy with how he handled the cold and windy conditions and made it a point to play as much as he could in less than ideal conditions, even adding and removing layers to find a comfort zone.
“It was really tough out there,” he said. “I missed a lot of putts. There were a lot of gusty shots and I’ve never missed that many putts in a long time.”
The news for Sunday’s final round was both good and bad. While winds are expected to die down, temperatures are expected to drop to the low 30s overnight with a wind chill in the 20s. Tournament officials have advanced tee times in anticipation of frost on the course.
“Dress warm,” cautioned Thompson, from South Florida.