The Southern California regional championship was suspended this afternoon following a four-hour delay caused by a freak lightning storm. The 124 boys' golfers will resume play at 9 a.m. Thursday at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta.
"I just have never seen anything like this," Southern Section Commissioner Jim Staunton said.
Most competitors had played only five or six holes by the time play was halted.
"It's fine. No big deal," said Servite junior Patrick Cantlay, who was preparing to hit his tee shot on the seventh hole when he had to come off the course. Cantlay was at even through six holes.
The golfers passed the time by playing cards, eating sandwiches and chatting in the clubhouse. Some players erupted in laughter after particularly close lightning strikes. There was intermittent rain and pebble-sized hail throughout the afternoon.
"Looking at the Doppler [radar], it was looking like more of the same," said Mike Sweeney, director of rules and competitions for the SCGA. The official decision to suspend play was made by Marie Ishida, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation.
Players will resume play where they left off Thursday, with some having left their balls on the course. The top three teams and top six individuals will advance to the state championship June 10 at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach.