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COHASSET, Massachusetts – Following her first round of the 2018 Grace Keyes Cup, for which she finished as the only competitor under par Tuesday, reigning Women’s Amateur Champion Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) said she had left several birdies out on the course for which she had hoped to secure when she returned for the second half of the 36-hole stroke play tournament on Wednesday.
While it went a little differently than she may have envisioned, the Norton resident still doubled the number of birdies in her second day of play en route to capturing her second Grace Keyes Cup title in three years, which was hosted at Cohasset Golf Club this week for the first time since 1974.
After a triple bogey and a bogey on her first two holes, the 35-year old Johnson was able to settle down with a birdie on her third hole before finishing at 6-over par 78 on the day to conclude her two day score at 5-over par 149, five strokes ahead of runner up and fellow Thorny Lea Golf Club member, Megan Buck. Westwood’s Sue Curtin, Wellesley’s Pam Kuong and Boston Golf Club’s Makenzie Curtis rounded out the top-five on the leaderboard.
“I don’t know what was going on on the front side, or really at all today,” said Johnson following her round. “I just had to try and dig and make pars. That’s what I was trying to do. I threw in a couple of birdies on the back side.”
Johnson, a former Indiana Hoosier Women’s Golf Team member, added a birdie on the par-4 8th hole to make the turn at 5-over par 41, before adding two more birdies on the back nine that allowed her to play her second half at 1-over par 37.
For Johnson, returning to competition this week for the Grace Keyes Cup was a good start for what will be a busy September. She hopes to build off this week’s momentum as she heads to the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship next week and then an appearance in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship beginning on September 22 in St. Louis.
“It’s good. It’s always fun to play in competitions,” said Johnson on the opportunity to take in another championship trophy and play the state’s best competition. “You need to get in pressure situations. I just have to figure out how to right the ship a little faster than what happened today going forward.”
Johnson made birdie on the two final two par-5 holes in Cohasset during her round Wednesday, including the 18th hole, to wrap up her play.
A day after shooting a flight best 87 to hold a three-stroke margin with 18-holes to go, Cumberland, Rhode Island’s Laura Parziale shot a 91 to finish tied atop the leaderboard before defeating Connie Hayton (Sagamore Spring GC) in a two-hole sudden death playoff Wednesday afternoon at Cohasset Golf Club.
With the victory, Parziale netted her first career win in the Tournament Flight of the Grace Keyes Cup after a nearly 25-year absence from the event.
“It is awesome. It is amazing,” said Parziale following the completion of her second round Wednesday.
Despite saying she did not have a good rhythm out on the course, which was one of her goals entering the second round of the 36-hole stroke play tournament, the former Framingham Country Club member and current Acushnet River Valley Golf Club member Parziale was dominant in the sudden-death playoff, which ultimately helped her top the 20 in her flight.
Her putting, which she said was her strong point on the day, ended up being the difference maker as she advanced past regulation.
After shooting matching scores on the first playoff hole, Parziale sunk a 26-foot putt to best her opponent by one stroke on Cohasset’s 2nd hole, the first of four par-3’s on the course.
“On the second hole, Connie hit it a little long and I missed the green right like 30 yards,” recalled Parziale. “She cozied hers down to about four of five feet, and I sunk mine from 26 out after chipping on. That was kind of really nice. I kind of felt like I saw the line.”
In addition to winning the Tournament flight, the win was particularly special for Parziale because she was able to have her daughter, Allyson, caddie both days of the championship.
“My daughter was with me and caddied for me both days and that was pretty special,” said Parziale of her daughter, who was away on Nantucket for the past several months. “I hadn’t seen her all summer so that was kind of the cherry on the sundae.”