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NORTH CONWAY, New Hampshire – Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) took a step closer history Tuesday, firing a 3-under-par 68 to take a two-stroke lead at the New England Women’s Amateur at North Conway CC. Johnson (1-under, 141) has a two-stroke lead, and if it holds, she’d be the first player from Massachusetts to win the NEGA Women’s Amateur three consecutive times.
Sharon native Allison Paik (Ledgemont CC; RI) went stride-for-stride with Johnson by shooting a 2-under par 69, and she currently sits at 1-over 143.
The players Tuesday also had improved course conditions after a downpour for much of Monday’s round.
“I think the course was playing a little shorter,” Johnson said. “Not having rain pour down on you the whole time was nice. Seeing the course for a second time as well you have a better plan for attack.”
Johnson started her round with three pars, but a double bogey on the par-3 4th hole would threaten her round early.
“I hit the ball decent the first few holes and had one bad swing on the par three and it didn’t go to plan,” Johnson said. “I continued to hit the ball well and set myself up for some chances and saw a few of those birdies start to fall.”
Birdies on holes 8, 9, 11, 17 and 18 would lead to Johnson making birdie on five of her last 11 holes.
The top of the leaderboard once again has seven players inside the top 10 playing out of Massachusetts. In that pack with Johnson is first-round leader Megan Buck (Thorny Lea GC), teenage sisters Morgan Smith (Vesper CC) and Molly Smith (Vesper CC), 2019 Grace Keyes Cup champion Susan Curtin (Boston GC), 2019 NEGA Women’s Amateur runner-up Krystal Knight (Bradford CC) and Jennifer Keim (Dennis Pines GC).
Keim, who recently graduated Tusculum University in Tennessee, finished her first round with a 9-over par 80, but rallied Tuesday by pouring in four birdies to card a 1-under par 70 and move up to T6 with Tara Watt (Derryfield CC; NH).
“I feel like the course played a little easier today,” Keim said. “I was disappointed in the way I played Monday but just wanted to bounce back and have a better round today. This is a very scorable course and I felt confident going into today.”
Keim had a long layoff from competition as well, with this being her first tournament since March.
“It feels awesome to be able to have the adrenaline flowing again,” Keim said. “Nothing can prepare you for competitive golf other than actually playing in the tournaments. I couldn’t be more excited to be getting back into it.”
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