Golf: Severe storm postpones finish of US Women's Open to Monday

Japan's Hinako Shibuno led on four-under par 209 after three rounds. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Dangerous weather halted play for the day in Sunday's final round of the 75th US Women's Open before leaders could even tee off, setting up a Monday (Dec 14) finish to the year's last major golf championship.

Japan's Hinako Shibuno, the 2019 Women's British Open champion, led on four-under par 209 after three rounds with American Amy Olson one stroke back at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

US Golf Association officials stopped play 25 minutes before Shibuno was set to tee off in the final group and called off play for the day about 3 1/2 hours later "due to course conditions and anticipated inclement weather."

Shibuno, 22, is trying to win her US Women's Open debut as she did her major debut last year. The "Smiling Cinderella" won four times last year on the Japan LPGA Tour.

Golfers were in threesomes and tee times had been moved up to try and finish by sunset, but the final three lead groups never reached the first tee.

The event was rescheduled from June due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also kept spectators from attending.

Olson, seeking her first LPGA title after 147 starts, would be the first player to make the US Women's Open her first LPGA title since Hilary Lunke in 2003.

Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn and South Korea's Kim2 Ji-yeong were the only other players under par after 54 holes, each on 212.

Moriya, whose only LPGA title came at the 2018 Los Angeles Open, could join her sister Ariya as a US Women's Open champion, becoming the first siblings to each capture the crown.

Kim2 made the cut on the number and fired a bogey-free 67 on Saturday to charge into contention.

Ariya Jutanugarn, a two-time major winner, joined a pack on level par by opening with a birdie just before play was halted.

Also on level par yet to tee off were New Zealand's Lydia Ko and Americans Yealimi Noh, Megan Khang and Kaitlyn Papp.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.