The heat and humidity appeared to be the winner Monday at the 76th Women's Buffalo District Golf Association (BDGA) Championship at Orchard Park Country Club.
The Seniors and Women of the BDGA battled the conditions in the morning and early afternoon. The women's division players return for the second round this morning at 7:30 with Barb Rieman (Fox Valley) and Donna Parker (Orchard Park) holding the lead at 79.
Four shots behind are Julie Murphy (Brookfield), Kim Kaul (Gowanda), Linda Burroughsford (Cherry Hill) and Kathy Hunt (Brooksfield).
Since the 90-plus degree heat was a major factor for both divisions, getting an earlier start will help the women avoid some of the heat that slowed most of them Monday. This will make things easier, according to Ann Luhr, secretary of the tournament, who also played Monday.
"It is a very beautiful and difficult course, but the heat was just too much today," Luhr said.
The Seniors division was led by Kathy Hooper (Fox Valley) with an 88, two strokes ahead of runner-up Sharon Johnson (Fox Valley). Hooper said it was a battle all day and that she wasn't able to find her rhythm as fast as she normally can.
"I didn't get into a rhythm until the fourth hole. It was unfortunate, but it is the way it goes," she said.
One reason was the condition of the course.
"The greens were the fastest I have played this year. And that of course, affects your approach shots and chips shots," Hooper said.
Once she made the needed adjustments, she set herself up for success. She would also battle the heat, but didn't let either the course or the weather bother her.
"On the back nine, it started to get very warm. We did have a nice breeze though, so it was nice," she said.
Hooper has already tasted success this season. She won the Senior WNY Golf Association Tournament in Rochester, which pits the best senior golfers from Rochester against those from the Buffalo area.
She believes that time spent practicing has improved her consistency.
"I have been working on my iron play, trying to get a good follow through. Sometimes I tended to hit the ball and then stop," she said.
She will play in two more major events this summer, the Senior Women's 4-Gal tournament in the Buffalo District as well as the Western District.
To keep improving, Hooper will look to her new clubs to keep her ahead of the competition.
"I have two new hybrids which I like. They really add so much to the game," she said.
At the pace she is on, look for Hooper to keep burning up the golf course.