Posted: July 11, 2015 1:34 am
As a polite and attentive silence enveloped the sun-soaked 18th green at Lancaster Country Club early Friday afternoon, a singular voice — that of Mariajo Uribe — attempted to coax the ball toward the hole for a birdie, and her score toward the safety zone above the projected cut line.
“Sit … sit … sit…”
The small but defiant white orb curled away from the hole, leaving Uribe to putt for par and settle at 5-over 145 through two rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open. Her 22-hole morning — including the completion of Thursday’s weather-delayed first round — turned into afternoon of waiting and hoping for a chance to play into the weekend.
The hopes dissolved, as Friday’s performances set the cut line at 4-over, eliminating Uribe from the tournament before today’s round.
“I didn’t take advantage of the opportunities,” Uribe said. “I think I four-putted four times in two days, and that’s where the score is. If not, I would be just a couple shots off the lead.”
A stormy start
Before the proverbial dust settled on the cut line Friday, literal storm clouds disrupted Uribe’s first round. Starting on Hole 10 with Paula Creamer (2-over 142) and Jessica Korda (11-over 151), Uribe found her groove midway through the front nine, recording birdies on holes 3 and 5 as the clouds thickened and crowds lining the fairways and grandstands scattered.
“I really wanted to hit my shot on Hole 6 yesterday,” Uribe said, “and the rules officials stopped me because they were going to blow the horn.”
The air horn sent Uribe and about a dozen others into a van for an hour while a severe thunderstorm tore through the venue, suspending play.
“It’s not an ideal place to be,” Uribe said, “with everybody cramping in the van. We were just talking. Gladly, we had our phones, so we could check our social media.”
When play resumed Friday morning, Uribe bogeyed the sixth hole and the ninth hole, finishing her first round at 4-over 74.
“That’s golf,” she said, “and we got a bad draw and couldn’t really sleep that much, either, but it is what it is.”
Uribe, a professional since 2009, spent her time away from the golf course this week savoring the pastoral side of Lancaster County, visiting an Amish farm with a group of players that included Sandra Gal, Hee Young Park and Kim Kaufman.
“We went and had dinner with one of the families,” Uribe said of the visit set up by local entrepreneur Phil Lapp. “The kids were so cute, and they had baby goats.
“Like, one that was born that day.”
The golfers enjoyed an Amish meal of fresh chicken, vegetables from the garden and ice cream.
The food accompanied a feast of cultural information for Uribe, who bonded with the Amish children at the table.
— Maria Jose Uribe (@MariaJoUribe) July 8, 2015
“I just kept catching myself asking them things like, ‘What time do you go to bed?'” she said.
Latin American growth
Each week on the tour offers Uribe the chance to explore different parts of the world.
“I try to do something fun every week,” she said, “especially Wednesday. It’s our down day.”
Uribe hails from Bucaramanga in Santander, Colombia, a city at the foot of mountains near the Venezuelan border.
The only Colombian to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open, Uribe joins a group of Latin-American players that includes Daniela Darquea, the tournament’s first qualifier from Ecuador, Paraguay’s Julieta Granada, and Mexico’s Gaby Lopez, Alejandra Llaneza, Regina Plasencia and Maria Fassi.
None made the cut, but Uribe said she senses an increasing interest in the game among Latin American countries.
“It’s growing,” she said. “And of course, with the Olympics (coming in 2016 to Rio de Janeiro), the governments are going to be more interested in investing in golf.”
After settling for Friday’s score, while waiting for the cut and her eventual elimination, Uribe planned to practice, work with a physical therapist and take one more trip to a Lancaster establishment.
“I was going to go to the movies,” she said, “to watch The Minions. A couple of players were going to go.”