Rain sticks, and so does Rarick’s overnight lead at Northwest Women’s Open

In all her years on the LPGA Tour, Cindy Rarick remembers a near “fog out” in Vermont when she held an overnight lead, but never a rainout.

A relentless summer rainstorm was Rarick’s ally Wednesday — one that eventually washed out the Pepsi Northwest Women’s Open at Twin Lakes Golf & Country Club in Federal Way.

Going off in a “shotgun” start to try and avoid the inclement weather, the field of 34 golfers fought through two downpours to get through nine holes. But when a third wash of rain began flooding greenside bunkers and puddling up on the greens, tournament officials canceled the final round just before noon.

Rarick fired a 3-under-par 69 in the first round Tuesday — and that small overnight lead ended up being a two-stroke victory over Australia’s Katy Jarochowicz (71). Defending champion Lindsay Aho (72), of Brush Prairie, finished third.

It was the 54-year-old’s first tournament victory of any kind since teaming up with Jan Stephenson to win the 2005 B.J.’s Charity Championship on the LPGA Legends Tour in Boston.

“This is the first time I have won an event where it has been called (because of weather),” said Rarick, a five-time LPGA Tour winner between 1987-91. “Thank God I got off to a good start (Tuesday).”

Rarick, who used to be Cindy Flom in her heyday, has now settled down for eight months out of the year in Leavenworth. She and her partner, Gary Seidler, founded a winery called Silvara.

“We’ve only been there five years,” Rarick said. “I have always enjoyed wine, and my partner wanted to be the engineer behind it all.

“I will host the tasting bar. It is a very social atmosphere.”

The idea of visiting Eastern Washington came up in 2006 when Rarick and Seidler met a couple from Wenatchee while having lunch in Arizona.

Extending an invitation to visit, Seidler found a five-acre pear orchard in 2008 at a reasonable price. He called Rarick, who was still playing on the LPGA Tour, about purchasing the property.

“I said, ‘Are you nuts?’ ” Rarick said.

They bought it. A year later, Silvara opened for business.

“Last year, one of our red wines won a bunch of awards,” Rarick said. “We have a big lawn there. On Saturdays we have live music. We also host weddings and parties.”

As for Aho — one of the cast members of “Big Break Florida” last fall — she was disappointed with the outcome Wednesday.

“I mean, playing with Cindy, she had a birdie in the rain, so I knew she was going to be a tough competitor,” Aho said. “But I wish we could have gone 18 holes. I wanted at least to make another run at it.”