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SCITUATE, Massachusetts – In what was a breezy day from start to finish, Anne Walsh (The Country Club) continued her red hot play as she grabbed the Round 1 lead in the Championship Division of the 87th Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship on Monday at Hatherly Country Club. After the first round of stroke play Monday, the players will play another stroke play round Tuesday to determine champions in all four divisions.
No stranger to the event, Hatherly Country Club is hosting the Girls’ Junior Amateur for the eighth time overall and for the first time since it celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1999. Hatherly first hosted the Girls’ Junior back in 1941.
Walsh built upon her Ouimet Memorial Tournament win from last week by firing a 1-under-par 71 to open the competition. She started the day by making birdie on three of her first four holes and tallied a 1-under par 36 on her front nine. From there, Walsh finished up with birdies on holes 10, 13, and 15, while also bogeying 12, 16, and 18.
“Starting out it wasn’t very windy,” said Walsh, an incoming freshman at Columbia University. “I feel like I started out pretty strong. My course management maybe wasn’t that great with the wind coming in, but overall I feel like I hit the ball pretty well. I was trying to hit more knockdown shots, but since the course was playing pretty short, I was often left with a wedge in. I was struggling between managing the wind and hitting my standard wedges. That’s certainly something I’m going to go work on at the range this afternoon and get ready for tomorrow.”
Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook CC) and Josephine Genereux (Chicopee CC) are four strokes off the lead at 3-over. Skoler, the 2018 Girls’ Junior Amateur champion, finished runner-up behind Walsh at last week’s Ouimet. She will attend the University of Virginia in the fall. Last month, Genereux won the Junior Connecticut PGA Championships by nine strokes.
Tied for fourth at 4-over are Morgan Smith (Vesper CC), Christine Mandile (Winchester CC), and Mia Scarpati (The Ledges GC).
Jaelyn Deboise (MIAA) shot an 87 in the opening round to lead the Silver Division, designated for players aged 14-18 with a Handicap Index of 10.2 or more.
Ahria Desia (Nashawtuc CC) and Catherine MacDonald (Sagamore Spring GC) are one stroke behind Deboise, as they both shot an 88. Camille Richmond (Orchards GC) and Isabella Crovo (Marshfield CC) both shot an 89 to round out the top five.
In the Junior Division, Maddie Smith (Mount Pleasant GC), Abby Zhu (MIAA) and Kylie Heffernan (Sterling National) are locked in a tie for first after nine holes, as they all cruised to a 4-over 40. Smith, the 2018 Mite Division winner, and Zhu each tallied two bogeys, while Heffernan carded the lone birdie on the par-5 3rd hole.
In the Mite Division, Reva Machanavajhula (KOHR Golf) shot a 5-over 41 and added two birdies to her card. Her first birdie of the day came on the par-5 5th hole, with the second and final birdie on her scorecard coming two holes later on the par-4 7th.
Hatherly Country Club has been the home of a number of outstanding players over the past century. The coastal club is where the late great Pippy Rooney O’Connor learned the game of golf under Jack Igoe, a professional who taught youth clinics in the summertime in Scituate. O’Connor was a 7-time club champion at Hatherly, qualified for three U.S. Women’s Opens, won the Girls’ Junior Amateur in 1948, and was a quarterfinalist in the 1953 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. A mentor for young golfers, she served as President of what was then known as the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts.
In 1976, Hatherly played host to the Junior Amateur Championship, with the final round being delayed because of Hurricane Belle sweeping through the area. When the Championship concluded weeks later, a then 15-year-old Brad Faxon earned the victory in the Pre-Junior Division. Faxon’s aunt, Jane Welch, who is a current member of HCC with her husband Wade, beat Faxon to the punch, winning the Girls’ Junior Amateur Pre-Junior Division title at Hatherly as a 14-year-old kid.
Chip Johnson, the Head Golf Professional at Hatherly since 1997, played in the 1988 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, making the cut and finishing 40th overall. Johnson also competed in the 2005 PGA Championship, the 2014 PGA Senior Championship and won the 2002 NEPGA Championship.