The New Zealand Women's Open will wait until tomorrow to find a champion.

Squalls across the Windross Farm course saw play postponed most of the day. It resumed at 4.50pm.

The odd streak of blue sky - and a fine patch in the early afternoon - flattered to deceive. The biggest problem was surface water amassing on the greens, making them unfit for play.

Bo Ream, the LPGA directors of rules and competitions, said they are "aiming to get 72 holes in if possible". That means players will return tomorrow to complete their final rounds.

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Entry for spectators will be free if parking arrangements can be negotiated with Ardmore Airport.

"There's quite a bit of casual water, so we're not sure it's fair for all players," Ream said of the course. "We want as much done today, so we play less tomorrow.

"Course conditions are the number one factor alongside what the tournament sponsor is looking for, and the travel schedule for the following tournament."

Ream said the LPGA was working closely with tournament staff and sponsors to smooth logistical issues.

"The players want to play 72 holes, especially when it's advertised in advance.

"We've got players travelling all over the world, but don't have an event next week, so there's flexibility there."

If the final round cannot be completed, Belen Mozo would win the tournament because she led Brooke Henderson by one-stroke at 15-under-par after three rounds.

Henderson had eked out a three-shot lead at 17-under-par through five holes of the final round when play was called off.

She secured birdies at the second, fourth and fifth holes.

Mozo had dropped to 14-under-par in the same final playing group, but would earn the winner's cheque of US$195,000 for putting numbers on the leaderboard earlier in the tournament.

Henderson would take home US$120,900.

Most of the crowd persevered through the disruption in jovial spirits, aided by the hospitality tents.

Play was delayed between 10.05am and 12.28pm and again between 2.15pm and 4.50pm.

Spare a thought for volunteers who acted as custodians over players' balls on incomplete holes in the interim.

Before the resumption, New Zealand's Lydia Ko was in a tie for ninth after going through nine holes at one-under-par for the day and nine-under for the tournament.

She birdied the opening two holes amid a sea of loyal umbrellas, but suffered a third bogey out of four across the tournament at the par-4 eighth.

The organisers should escape punishment for the staccato finish.

Auckland's tendency towards a four-seasons-in-one-day climate is frustrating, but crowd numbers and player satisfaction at the first of this tournament's three editions was welcomed by organisers.

Sean Pyun, vice president and managing director of LPGA Asia, said he was "blown away" by the patronage for the opening rounds.

The final round offered a further insight into fan dedication, including the need for a wardrobe catering to all climates.

The LPGA hope the tournament becomes a regular fixture, preferably moving into a two-leg stint with the Australian Open in February to draw a stronger player contingent. That will require negotiations with tournament partners who have backed hosting it in the New Zealand spring.

This tournament strengthened the LPGA argument. Auckland's narrow mainland between coasts is always vulnerable to the elements.

Knitting the Australia and New Zealand legs of the schedule together would make it easier for players to make the trip through economies of scale.

"Those things have to be considered," Pyun said. "We needed to establish the event this year, but we'll talk about weather, a title sponsor, the Auckland and New Zealand government [input] and the LPGA schedule.

"Frankly speaking, players are excited to play in different places when the season starts, as opposed to September-October when the season is winding down and players are getting tired."