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HAMPDEN, Massachusetts– Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) took control of the NEWGA Championship on Monday and did not relinquish the remaining rounds.
Following 54 holes of stroke play at GreatHorse against a field of some of the top golfers from the six New England states, Johnson maintained her composure and captured her second NEWGA Championship title. She now joins the roster of back to back champions, a feat that has not been achieved since 1995-96 when Tara Joy had the honors.
Johnson finished with a three-round score of 1-over par 217, which was seven strokes better than second-place finisher Krystal Knight (Bradford CC) and third-place finisher Megan Buck (Thorny Lea GC). It marks her second career NEWGA Championship crown and her first major win of the season.
After posting the only under-par performance on Monday with a 71, Johnson continued on a consistent path and distanced herself from the field with a 1-over par 73 on Tuesday. Although she would go on to fire two 1-over par rounds, no other competitor would finish a round within striking distance of the back to back champion.
“I was happy with how I was hitting the ball today,” said Johnson. “I got myself into solid position off the tee but I think everyone was having a hard time getting a good read on these greens. When I was finally getting comfortable and gaining confidence around them I would fall back into a three-putt. A bit frustrating for everyone I’m sure to not be as consistent as we want to be.”
Joined by Johnson as the only other players to fire under par rounds at GreatHorse were Knight on day 2 with a 1-under par 71 and Buck on day 3 with a 1-under par 71 as well.
“I started off really well today but on the 4th hole I found myself in a difficult lie and did not play the following shots the way I wanted to,” said Knight. “After that triple bogey I got into a better rhythm and started to hit a lot of greens. I know I was overthinking my short putts so I needed to make that adjustment to keep playing well and stay competitive with Shannon and Hannah.”
Before Johnson and Knight made it to the scorer’s table, Buck finished her round under-par making the jump from yesterday’s T6 finish to T2 but after a USGA match of cards it would place her in solo 3.
“I stayed out of trouble out on the course these past two days,” said Buck. “I hit pretty much every fairway and a majority of the greens giving myself the opportunity to make a lot of two-putt pars. It was a safe round of golf today.”
For the third day in a row, Massachusetts took over the leaderboard with eight of the top 10 spots. Pam Kuong (Charles River CC) finished at 10-over par 226 winning the Senior division and rounding out the top 5 competitors fellow Bay Stater Hannah Ghelfi (Pocasset GC) would also finish 10-over par 226.
Jordan Laplume (Dune Grass GC) represented Maine well with a 15-over par 231 finish capturing the Junior division and Mim Schreck (Oronoque GC) from Connecticut would go on to win the Legend division with a 52-over par 268.
Following this year’s event, the New England Women’s Golf Association formally announces that their Women’s Championship will be managed and operated by the New England Golf Association beginning in 2020. The New England Women’s Amateur Championship will be the fifth prestigious event added to the NEGA calendar alongside the New England Amateur Championship, the New England Junior Amateur Invitational, New England Girls’ Junior Amateur Invitational, and New England Senior Amateur Championship.