By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
June 17,2017, 12:22:41PM,EDT
After the 2017 U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin, Wisconsin, escapes the worst of severe weather threatening the Midwest, the coolest day of the tournament is expected on Sunday.Saturday has turned out to be a warm and humid day for the third round of play.
The entire third round could be free of weather delays, but a pop up thunderstorm cannot be ruled out in the afternoon, AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
Spectators should seek shelter at the first sign of thunder or lightning, even if play has not been suspended.
While any lightning will pose a risk to players and fans, the golf course is expected to escape the severe weather threatening communities closer to Chicago and southwestward to Wichita, Kansas, into Saturday night.
Unsettled weather will persist across Wisconsin to end the weekend.
"There can be a few showers that pop up during the middle to late afternoon hours of Sunday," Roys said, adding that a weather delay seems possible but not likely.
The main thing that fans and players may notice on Sunday is a turn to cooler and less humid conditions. Temperatures will be held to the lower and mid-70s.
This is the first major championship to be played at Erin Hills, which opened back in 2006 and is located about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
The 117th edition of the tournament began on Thursday morning and will continue through Sunday.
Late Thursday morning, a blimp reportedly crashed near the golf course. The pilot sustained serious injuries in the accident and first responders were on the scene. Investigators believe that the blimp crashed due to mechanical issues.
The landscape of the course, which is set among rolling farmland in the Wisconsin countryside, was formed by colliding glaciers more than 20,000 years ago. As a result, Erin Hills is filled with dramatic vistas and contours in the state's Kettle Moraine region.
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When the course is dry, golfers will prepare for the course to play firm and fast. Any rain during the later rounds could lead to a softer course, which allows the players to pick a more targeted landing zone for their shots.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) spent part of Tuesday mowing the high fescue grass that posed one of the biggest challenges to golfers.
"Going into this week, we knew that mowing certain parts of the fescue rough might be required, should we have the combination of high winds and heavy rain," the USGA said in a statement. "After 1.5 inches of rain fell overnight on Monday, we followed through with our plan to mow limited areas of fescue on holes 4, 12, 14 and 18."
With a length of 7,800 yards, Erin Hills is one of the longest courses in the country. While this may be a benefit for golfers who can driver the ball farther, the wind can sometimes limit that advantage.
“The longer the ball is in the air, that very silent hazard of the wind can come into play," Jeff Hall, managing director of rules and open championships for the USGA told the Associated Press.
"The wind could have an impact on [Sunday], with speeds of 10-15 mph and gusts at times between 20 and 25 mph," Roys said.
In a roundtable discussion on the U.S. Open's website, caddies who are experienced with the winds at Erin Hills described how "unpredictable" the winds are and how the lack of trees on the course can make it hard to judge wind direction.