COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Around the time Stacy Lewis was getting ready for her second round of the day at the Broadmoor, a brown bear shimmied up a tree, wrapped himself around a big branch and settled in for a snooze.
For the players and everyone else at the U.S. Women’s Open, Friday was, indeed, an energy sapper.
Lewis made it through 29 holes on the mountain course before Colorado’s typical summer thunderstorms hit. She walked off at 4-under par, with a one-shot lead over I.K. Kim and Ryann O’Toole.
Lewis, who won the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year, shot 3-under 68 in the first round, then after a quick stop for lunch, played the first 11 holes of the second round in 1 under.
With the black clouds moving in and the wind gusting, she wasn’t all that crestfallen to hear the siren sound.
“Part of me is definitely glad we stopped,” she said. “My legs were getting a little heavy there.”
There is never anything easy about winning a U.S. Open, and hitting good golf shots for 72 holes across the hilly Broadmoor, elevation 6,700 feet, makes it that much tougher, even under a normal schedule.
But this week’s schedule will be anything but normal.
Play was suspended Thursday with 131 players still on the course, or still waiting to hit their first shots. That set it up for Lewis and dozens more to play -- or at least try to play -- 36 on Friday. They finished their first rounds, ate lunch and quickly headed back out to the course.
“I walked back out here and the food hadn’t kicked in and I was really dragging,” said O’Toole, a qualifier whose biggest pro check is the $17,500 she cashed at a Futures Tour event earlier this season. “Once it kicked in, I was fine. We played 28 holes today. I can’t really complain. This gives us some rest. It’s not going anywhere.”
Indeed, not a single player had finished her second round when the weather hit Friday, meaning the weekend will be a long one and a Monday finish is possible.
Nobody will kick that weekend off in better position than Lewis, whose first career major came the hard way -- a win at the Nabisco in what was essentially a head-to-head, final-day matchup against the world’s top player, Yani Tseng.
Tseng, trying to complete the career Grand Slam this week, struggled early in this one and walked off the course at 3 over, seven shots out of the lead with seven holes to play. She was paired with defending champion Paula Creamer, and a few minutes before weather stopped play, both Creamer and Tseng, playing downwind, drove the ball over the 339-yard, par-4 second hole. Creamer got up and down for a birdie that put her at 1 under, one of only 10 players in red numbers.
Lewis, meanwhile, was among the few figuring out the greens on a course where players have trouble believing what they see; every putt, even the uphill ones, speed away from the Will Rogers Monument on nearby Cheyenne Mountain.
“I’m just staying patient, hitting a lot of good shots,” Lewis said. “I’ve made a couple mistakes but I’m playing well. On the greens, I’m seeing the lines really well and my speed has been good all week.”
Two shots behind is amateur Amy Anderson, who played six holes early Friday, then left the course, knowing her second round wouldn’t begin until at least Saturday morning.
“It’s exciting; hasn’t sunk in,” said Anderson, a second-team All-American at North Dakota State. “To me, it’s felt like another tournament, just on the tour.”