“It was like going into a fan and getting an ice bucket thrown in your face,” said Kenny Ebalo, who is caddying for Andres Gonzales.
Ebalo was referring to the chilly conditions on Thursday morning at Orange County National in Orlando, Florida, the site of this week’s PGA Tour Q-school. That’s right — it was 44 degrees, but felt like 37 degrees with the wind chill at around 9am. Andres, Ebalo and Michael Putnam, who is playing to get better status on the PGA Tour next year, had just sat down for lunch and were exchanging battle stories from grinding in the “really” cold temperatures.
“The first nine holes were so cold it didn’t matter where you were on the golf course or which course were you playing,” said Andres laughing. “When it’s windy, you just have to think so much harder. And I just really don’t like thinking.” (He was joking..kind of — if you haven’t gathered from previous posts, he’s a goofball.
“I was just trying to make a par,” Mike deadpanned. “It was kinda hard to think (and swing) when you have so many layers on. I was wearing a beanie, Under Armour, golf shirt, sweater, rain pants — and I was freezing.”
“I wore three pairs of underwear,” said Andres.
It warmed up in the afternoon and the guys were playing five hour, forty minute rounds.
“I shot one-over on my second nine, so it was a lot easier,” joked Mike, who posted one-under in the cold.
The guys weren’t complaining, just a little fazed at the frigid temperatures in Florida. I mean, who knew you needed winter hats and jackets in the Sunshine State? I didn’t until I checked the weather before I left on Monday.
Despite the tough conditions, the low scores are out there, which Chris Baryla proved after walking in with a 11-under 61 in the second round.
Baryla credited the record-breaking round to the cup of coffee he grabbed and the mitts with hand warmers in them that his caddie prepared.
Just 15 miles down the road, the LPGA Tour Championship is taking place at Grand Cypress Golf Club. 27 players were unable to finish their rounds due to darkness and came back on Friday morning at 7:30 to play the remaining holes. The course is playing tough with the tricky greens, and slow play is causing delays. (Seems to be a theme regardless of which tour or course you’re playing this week.)
Amy Yang, who shot 67 in the first round for a share of the lead, had an early tee time on Friday, but that didn’t stop her from firing 2-under in the second round.
“You know, I tee off at 8:30 today,” said Yang. “It was really cold in the morning. Because of that, it was tough conditions. The front nine was a little shaky, but I finished with four birdies on the back nine. It was fun.”
Yang said she wore a lot of layers because she knew it was going to be really cold in the morning.
With players still left on the golf course (and a strong chance the second round won’t be finished by dusk), Yang has a four-stroke lead over the closest competitor. American Cristie Kerr, who is in the running for Player of the Year, shot 1-under 71 on Friday. She’s two-under for the tournament and currently T4.
I think hand warmers are the way to go. Expect similar conditions this weekend (and for the guys, Monday is supposed to be even colder).
(AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)