The sport of golf won't be added to the Winter Olympics anytime soon for reasons that manifested themselves during the Class 1A, 2A and 3A Boys State Tournaments in Bloomington-Normal on Friday.
A heavy blast of mid-afternoon snow forced all three tourneys to void first-round scores midway through the round, sending all teams and individuals into Saturday's final round to decide placings based on 18 holes.
Most players and coaches had never competed in such conditions, but some maintained a positive attitude.
"Putting, it was weird, but it was really fun," said Matthew Barker of Tri-Valley, who was tied for fourth at 4-over with five holes remaining in Class 1A at Prairie Vista Golf Course.
A steady rain, combined with temperatures in the high 30s, was present before snow began falling as hand warmers and hot chocolate were hot sellers in the clubhouses.
As play was suspended about 2 p.m. in Class 3A at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course, one of the participants said aloud, "I've never been so happy to hear that horn!"
University High's Cody Surma wasn't in total agreement. The senior was even-par through 14, tied for fifth and two strokes out of the lead held by Barrington's Dominic Scaletta and Loyola's Peter Radler.
"I'm definitely bummed, but at least our team is back in it so that's good," said Surma, as the Pioneers were sixth at the time. "It's a little sad to see, but that's OK.
"It was tough to see the ball, especially when you hit. The greens were bad. When you rolled a putt it would just snowball. It was getting pretty bad out there."
Woodland senior Tyler Jenkins, who was tied for 26th in 1A at 6-over after seven holes, wasn't alone in realizing he was not as prepared as he thought.
"I never thought to play in the snow," he said. "When I'm usually playing, it's sunny and 75. I never thought to play in the snow. I never thought I'd have to.
"My ball started accumulating snow as it rolled over the greens. I couldn't find my ball in the fairway. It was snow covered and my ball is white so it was blending in."
Tremont coach Troy Schmidt, whose team was making its first state trip, hopes the Turks didn't jinx the tournament.
"I don't know if we brought that (snow) or what," quipped Schmidt, whose team was in 10th when play ended. "It was crazy out there. There at the end, snow was accumulating on the greens. Footing was getting really suspect out there."
Tremont and 12th-place Tri-Valley were happy to avoid a new IHSA rule which only allows the top eight teams (and ties) and top 24 golfers (and ties) to advance to the final round.
Tri-Valley coach Bryan Corn called the new rule "disappointing."
"I hope they look at it and decide if it's really best for the kids," he said.
U High coach Darrin York gathered his team for a short meeting after the round was cancelled at The Den and told them they're tied for lead heading into Saturday. Loyola actually was in the lead Friday, with Barrington in second.
"That's the mentality you're going to have to take. We're starting over," said York. "It's bad for Cody. He had a great round going individually and we had a couple kids hanging in there, but on the flip side of that you start over tied for the lead tomorrow and all 12 teams play it out and we'll see what happens."
York wasn't surprised the round was cancelled about a half-hour after the horn sounded for a suspension of play.
"When we left the golf course, the greens were unplayable with snow accumulation and the forecast was not getting any better," he said. "We've never had the first day cancelled, but we've had the second day cancelled."
That happened in 2012 when U High was tied with Belleville Althoff in the Class 2A State at Weibring Golf Club. When the second round was cancelled, Althoff was declared the champion based on a better non-counting fifth player's score on the first day.
The cancellation was a benefit for Bloomington's TJ Barger and Pontiac's Griffin Nyi, who were both sectional medalists, in Class 2A at Weibring Golf Club.
Barger shot 41 and Nyi fired 42, both on the front nine. Prairie Central's Josh Kilcullen was in much better shape, tied for third after shooting 1-over 37 on the front side. St. Viator was in the lead by a stroke over defending champion Charleston.