The heavy downpours that threatened to wash out the second round of the US Women's Open in New Jersey proved too much for the Irish duo of Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow as both missed the cut.
World number one amateur Maguire – playing in her second US Women’s Open – had left herself with too much work to do after an opening round round of 75 before an eventful second round ended her chances.
The 22-year-old from Cavan, who was recently awarded the Annika Award as the best performing player on the US College circuit, got off to the best possible start with birdies at the first and second to pull herself inside the cut mark. However, as the rain lashed down, things turned ugly at Trump Bedminster – and that was before the US president even arrived to cast a beady eye over proceedings.
A bogey at the third was followed by two more bogeys at the seventh and ninth, in between round-ruining double bogeys at the eighth and 13th.
With her chances effectively gone, Maguire managed to pull a shot back at the par three 14th but another double at the next hole compounded her disappointment.
Meanwhile, Meadow – who came third at this event in 2014 – needed something special after an opening round of 77. Starting on the 10th she set herself on the way with a birdie at her second hole but couldn’t kick on from there and a double bogey and a bogey on her back nine put paid to her chances as she signed for a 73 after a birdie at her 17th.
President Trump made history by becoming the first serving president to attend a US Women’s Open event when he arrived at Bedminster accompanied by his wife Melania and son Eric.
He then settled into a private box between the 15th green and 16th tee to watch proceedings, occasionally fist pump and offer unlimited thumbs up to curious fans and players alike.
Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Brooke Henderson were in the first group that passed through the 15th green after Trump arrived.
“I shot a glance,” Thompson said. “Honestly, I was just trying to focus on my shot.”
“Make America great again!” one fan shouted.
“You’re doing a great job,” another roared.
Outside the gates of the property things were a lot different as women’s rights groups staged protests at the fact that the event was being played at a course owned by the president.
Trump, who claims to play off a handicap of three and spends many of his weekends on his course in West Palm Beach, Florida, stayed to watch for around an hour before leaving.
In general, the players were appreciative of his presence and felt it brought a good buzz to the event.
Henderson, a Canadian and four-time winner on the LPGA tour at the age of just 19, felt the excitement building around the 15th green as she approached.
“It was really exciting,” she said. “It’s really amazing that the president of the United States is here to watch us play golf and on a tremendous golf course.
“It’s pretty incredible. I never thought that would happen. To be in my fifth US Open and to have it happen is really cool.”
At the top of the leaderboard, China’s Shanshan Feng extended her lead with a second-round 70.
The 27-year-old, who previously enjoyed major success at the 2012 Women’s PGA Championship, held a one-shot lead after a weather-affected opening day.
Birdies at the sixth, 11th and 12th, alongside a solitary bogey on the 10th, saw Feng reach eight under par.
That put the Olympic bronze medal winner two clear of Korean trio Hye Jin Choi (69), Jeongeun Lee (69) and Amy Yang (71).
“I played probably the first nine holes in the rain, but my phone told me it was going to rain all afternoon and I was prepared,” Feng told the LPGA website.
“I really didn’t pay attention to the weather and just concentrated on every shot.”
Of the three players in second, the performance of amateur Choi was the most noteworthy — with Catherine Lacoste’s triumph in this event 50 years ago the last time a major was won by a player yet to turn professional.
England's Charley Hull mixed five birdies with three bogeys in a round of 70 that propelled her into a share of 14th on two under.
The 21-year-old from Kettering is six shots adrift of Feng going into the weekend.