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RUMFORD, Rhode Island – The second day of the New England Women’s Amateur featured more extreme heat, with temperatures surging well above 90 degrees. And as the day wore on, the top-performing players began to heat up in more ways than one Tuesday at Agawam Hunt (par-71, 5,815 yards).
Mia Grzywinski (CC of Farmington; CT) surged into the lead with a 4-under 69 that included five birdies on the back nine, to move to 2-under overall. Dree Fausnaugh (Pease GC; NH) also made birdie on three of the final four holes to move into second place at even-par. Day 1 leader Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club) held a share of the lead for most of the round but finished 2-over 73 Tuesday to end the day in third place at 1-over overall.
Angela Garvin (The Ranch Golf Club), a standout for the University of Maryland, has a share of fourth place after her 1-over 72 moved her five strokes off the lead. She’s tied with Lauren Thibodeau (Windham CC; NH), a standout at The University of Louisville, who finished with a 1-under 70.
After 36-hole through two rounds, the New England Women’s Amateur Championship will conclude Wednesday. A total of 71 players made the cut, including 54 for the Championship Division and low 17 in the Tournament Division moving on to the final round. Divisional championships will also be up for grabs Wednesday in the Junior, Legend, and Senior Divisions, as well as the Tournament (gross and net) Divisions.
Molly Smith, a 16-year-old rising junior at Westford Academy, is far from out of it after keeping a clean card of 14 pars Tuesday. However, frustration was certainly building with each birdie bid that barely came up short, like on the 14th, or on the 17th hole, which hit the lip of the cup and rolled out to the right.
“I just tried to make some birdes myself, it didn’t happen, but there’s tomorrow,” Smith said.
Smith “wasn’t super happy” with missing a par putt on the first, but the one of 17th was particularly bothersome with Mia Grzywinski and Dree Fausnaugh surging ahead.
“When you play 17 holes and it happens over and over again, it’s a little more frustrating,” said Smith, whose lone birdie came on the 12th (416 yards, par-5).
Smith still adjusted well to the gradually increasing winds and shifted tees to set up multiple birdie chances. She’s hoping a brief practice session on the putting green following her round Tuesday will pay off Wednesday.
“If you practice they should drop because you’ve been practicing that,” Smith said. “So hopefully they’ll fall tomorrow.”
Grzywinski, 20, was tired and disappointed after finishing the front nine at 2-over, but things shifted at the turn when she got back to even par with birdies on Hole 11 (par 3, 121 yards) and Hole 12 (par 5, 416 yards).
When the lead group crossed the street for the final four holes, Grzywinski finally gained some separation with three consecutive birdie putts. After making downhill breaking putt from about 15 feet on the 15th, her next two bogeys came from well-executed approaches.
She hit her 7-iron thin on the 16th, but it landed within 3-feet for a short birdie putt. After taking an aggressive line off the tee on the 17th, she hit a pitching wedge from 110 yards to roughly the same distance as her putt on the 17th.
Despite a bogey on the 18th, Grzywinski was chipper between shots. She got a boost walking alongside her boyfriend and caddie Chris Fosdick, a standout at the University of Virginia and this year’s Connecticut Amateur champion, as the two were able to smile and laugh between shots.
“I read if you are smiling when you aren’t happy it helps you get rid of any bad thoughts,” said Grzywinski, a rising sophomore at Quinnipiac University. “It has worked well for me.”
What’s also working well is walking, something she was unsure about before Tuesday given the heat. However, Grzywinski said she’s more in a rhythm when she’s able to walk the course, which in turn helps her mental game.
“I feel like I do better when I can take my time getting up to the ball, so I think I made the right play,” said Grzywinski, who rallied from one stroke down to win the Hartford Women’s Open two weeks prior. “I got very tired the last couple of holes, but it actually chilled me out a bit, and it was good for me emotionally. I think that’s going to be the play again tomorrow.”
Not to be outdone, Fausnaugh, was one of only two players to shoot the same score both days. A sprint to the finish put her in contention for the final day as she concluded with a birdie on the 18th (par-4, 421 yards) after striking a 5-iron from 170 yards within six feet of the hole.
Despite landing into the rough or fescue throughout the round, more times than not she was able to save par.
“It was definitely a grind all day today,” Fausnaugh said. “That definitely gave me a good confidence boost because toward the end I had a few errant shots. To end with two good ones definitely helped going into tomorrow.”
Kym Pappathanasi (Renaissance) surged into the lead with an 80, the best score among those in the division Tuesday. Pappathanasi, winner of the Tournament Division at the Mass Women’s Mid-Amateur last year, has a one-stroke edge over Nancy Diemoz (Montaup CC; RI).
Kibbe Reilly (Wannamoisett CC; RI), who shot an 80 on Monday, is four strokes off the lead, while MJ O’Neill (The GC at Turner Hill) and Cathy Flatley (Presidents GC) are T4 and six strokes off the lead.
Val Casella (LPGA Amateur Association) had the biggest turnaround of all players Tuesday. Casella, a past winner of multiple Mass Golf Women’s Tournaments, shot an 82, a 21-stroke improvement from the day prior.
As part of that effort, Casella stepped up to the 115-yard par-3, 8th with a 7-iron and hit it “dead-straight” toward the pin where it rolled up from the front of the green and into the hole for her first-ever hole-in-one.
Her score was the second-best in the Tournament Division and allowed her to make the cut.
Below is an approximate yardage chart for the Championship that was used during practice rounds. Yardages will change each day of the Championship, and all yardages are subject to change due to numerous factors.