Coach Tabitha Schumacher advises Delaney Underwood on navigating the tricky greens at the El Campeon Golf Course

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. — There was one more twist to a memorable Central College women’s golf season Thursday, even after it had concluded for the Dutch.

A few hours after Central completed third-round play at the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships, the round for all competitors was stopped and canceled due to a pin placement that was ruled unfair.  Tournament results reverted to how they stood after Wednesday’s second round, the tournament was shortened from 72 to 54 holes and the original 54-hole cut that sliced the 29-team field to the top 15 was changed to a 36-hole cut. The top 15 teams following the second round will play the final 18 holes Friday.

That doesn’t change Central’s status. The Dutch were 22nd after 36 holes and appeared likely to finish 22nd after 54, shooting 347-349-345—1041 at the Mission Inn Resort and Club’s par-73, 5,823-yard El Campeon Golf Course. That score officially becomes 347-349—696 and, ironically, erases Central’s best round of the week.

However, it did have an impact on Central’s top performer, Delaney Underwood (senior, Mitchellville, Colfax-Mingo HS), who shot 84-83-82—248, which became 84-83—167. Originally the top six individual players not on advancing teams moved on to Friday’s round. Because third-round play was not completed, that pool was expanded to the top 12 individuals. Underwood tied for the 12th spot but lost out on a tiebreaker.

The Dutch teed off before 8 a.m. as part of the early wave and coach Tabitha Schumacher noted some challenging pin placements. In particular, she referenced the pin on the No. 6 green.

“On No. 6, you could putt the ball just beyond the hole or short of the hole and it would roll back to your feet,” she said.

Schumacher predicted problems as temperatures climbed and the green dried out.

“It was getting worse in the 45 minutes to an hour that I was there,” she said. “As the course gets more firm, it’s going to get crazy out there.”

Apparently, that’s exactly what happened. The NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Committee was forced to make a difficult, but necessary decision, releasing this statement:

“The NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Committee has determined that round 3 will officially be canceled on the grounds of an unplayable hole for the entire tournament field. As play continued throughout round 3 it became apparent that the pin placement on Hole 6 was too severe for play.

“With this decision being made, we will now conclude the championship as a 54-hole tournament with the final round being seeded off of the completion of round 2. The top-15 teams will advance to the final round, as well as the top-12 individuals not on one of those 15 teams. Please note the committee elected to advance six additional individuals to the final round.”

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