FRENCH LICK, Ind., Aug. 17, 2014 – Laurie Rinker put herself in position to win The Legends Championship in Saturday’s second round and was in the right place at the right time when heavy rain canceled Sunday’s final round.
Rinker took a slim one-stroke lead at 7-under 137 on Saturday over hard-charging Sherri Steinhauer at 6-under 138. Steinhauer blistered the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort Saturday with a course-record score of 9-under 63 and appeared ready to challenge the leader in today’s final round.
But that round never came.
Expecting inclement weather, Legends Tour officials scheduled a 7:30 a.m. start off both the first and tenth tees, but heavy early-morning storms dumping up to two inches of rain left the course too wet for play at the scheduled start. Thunderstorms were also in the area on Sunday.
Officials considered a five-hour delay, but the rain became stronger and fog made visibility difficult. The decision was made at noon to shorten the tournament to 36 holes.
“The forecast and deteriorating course conditions played a major role in our decision to call it,” said Kent Kahre, head rules official for the Legends Tour.
That meant Laurie Rinker, who tied for second at last year’s storm-hampered tournament, was declared the 2014 champion and winner of the $60,000 first-place check.
“Looking at the weather Friday night, it kind of crossed my mind that not playing on Sunday was a possibility,” said Rinker, of Stuart, Fla. “I thought, ‘I hope I have a really good round Saturday in case that happens.’ ”
As it turned out, Rinker was tied with Steinhauer at six under in Saturday’s second round when she made a 30-foot putt for birdie on No. 16 to take the outright lead at seven under. That timely putt ultimately enabled her to win her third Legends Tour title.
Rinker’s previous LPGA wins came at the 1984 Boston Five Classic and the 1986 Corning (N.Y.) Classic. She also won the 1984 Bridgestone Ladies Open in Japan and posted three runner-up LPGA finishes in 1987.
Her brothers, Lee and Larry Rinker, are also golf professionals and Laurie teamed with Larry to win the 1985 JC Penney Classic.
Unable to extend her momentum today when play was canceled, Steinhauer took runner-up honors at The Legends Championship. The Wisconsin native pocketed $36,969.
Atlanta’s Rosie Jones, winner of last week’s Wendy’s Charity Classic in Michigan, finished third, two strokes behind Steinhauer, at 4-under 140.
Lisa Grimes of Arizona came in fourth at 3-under 141, while Ohio’s Barb Mucha finished fifth at 2-under 142, followed by Great Britain’s Trish Johnson, who rounded out the top-six finishers with her 36-hole total of one-under 143.
Sunday’s cancellation also meant the six-player Super Seniors event was cut from 36 to 18 holes. It ended in a three-way tie for the title at 77, scored on Saturday by Shelley Hamlin, Jane Blalock and Judy Dickinson.
In spite of the weather-shortened event, The Legends Championship raised $100,000 for charity partner Riley Children’s Foundation.