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NORTH DARTMOUTH, Massachusetts – It was a perfect fall day at the 69th Grace Keyes Cup, which is taking place at the Country Club of New Bedford. After welcoming back several U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur competitors, Sue Curtin (Boston GC) was the one to find a rhythm in the first round of the 2019 Keyes Cup to top the field of 15 in the Championship Flight.
The championship was established in 1950 when Grace Keyes presented The Keyes Cup to the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts. For the first eight years, the tournament was played as a 54-hole event and in 1958 the format changed to 36-holes. Keyes was one of the six founding members of the Women’s Golf Association of Boston and was the winner of the first Association Championship in 1900.
Coming off of her best showing at a USGA event, Curtin would start the day with a less than ideal front nine making the turn at 3-over par and carding a double-bogey.
“It was a slow start for me today. The condition of the course was great but I just could not get into a groove,” said Curtin. “I woke up pretty tired and I didn’t do my normal warm up routine. It certainly has been a long season and it felt that way this morning.”
Others out on the course were seeing a more successful front nine including Kris Henderson (Bedrock GC) who made an eagle on the difficult 362-yard par 4, 3rd hole.
“It was a dog leg to the left and I hit it into the right side of the fairway, which was around the corner,” said Henderson. “I hit my high loft five and the shot bounced once on the green and went right in. I was standing there with both my playing partners who reacted faster than I did that it had gone into the hole. It is great to card an eagle in a competition round like this and it was fun to celebrate with my competitors.”
After the turn Curtin would break away from the pack and piece together a stronger finish with three birdies peppered through the final nine. Enough to give her the sole lead after round 1.
“I just tried to play really steady on the back and was able to get back into it shot by shot,” said Curtin. “Mentally I played a better game and I hope to be able to do that tomorrow. There are some great competitors out here and I don’t plan on having a slow start again.”
When asked about her experience in Flagstaff, Arizona at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, Curtin had plenty to say about her fellow bay state competitors.
“It was a really great experience and it was a personal best making match play,” said Curtin. “It was really special having our group of our friends out there that also qualified. Everyone made the cut that went out there in our group, which is pretty impressive. It’s a really tight knit group and when we were done playing our own round we were making sure that we were out there following each other around showing support. It just was a lot of fun.”
Following her round-one performance, Curtin holds a one-stroke lead over Kyrstal Knight (Bradford CC), who carded two birdies and finished the day at 2-over par 74. Pam Kuong (Charles River CC) finished with a 3-over par 75 and reigning champion Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea CC) finished three strokes back at 4-over par 76.
The second half of the 36-hole tournament will continue on Thursday at the Country Club of New Bedford with the 10-member Tournament Flight beginning play first followed up with the Championship Flight beginning afterwards. The first tee time is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.
For complete coverage of the Massachusetts Grace Keyes Cup, visit MassGolf.org or follow @PlayMassGolf on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Interact with us throughout the tournament by using #GraceKeyesCup.