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RUMFORD, Rhode Island – Dree Fausnaugh (Pease GC; NH) was about as steady and consistent as the scorching conditions over the last three days. However, she saved her best showing for last.
Fausnaugh shot a bogey-free 3-under-par 68 in the final round to take home the New England Women’s Amateur title for the first time at Agawam Hunt (par-71, 5,781). Fausnaugh finished one stroke ahead of Mia Grzywinski (CC of Farmington; CT), who took a two-stroke lead into the final round. Fausnaugh is the first golfer from a New Hampshire club to win the title since Dana Harrity won in 2014.
Angela Garvin (The Ranch Golf Club) was Mass Golf’s top finisher, firing a 2-over 73 in the final place fourth overall at 5-over 218 total. Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club), who played in the final group with Fausnaugh and Grzywinski, finished T5 with Mary Mulcahy (Hatherly CC) at 219 total to take home the Kathy Albright Junior Trophy.
Pam Kuong (Charles River CC), the defending Mass Golf Women’s Senior Player of the Year, won the Carol Patton Senior Trophy with a 3-day score of 231.
Dree Fausnaugh admitted she didn’t think she could slow down Mia Grzywinski heading into the final round. Grzywinski, a member of Quinnipiac’s Women’s Golf team, made birdie eight times in a 16-hole stretch from hole 11 on Tuesday to hole 8 on Wednesday.
“She’s a great player, and I really just assumed that she was going to make everything, and just kind of tried to do the best that I could chasing her, and eventually it evened out toward the end,” said Fausnaugh, a former standout at the University of Central Florida. “I just reverted back to shooting what I wanted to shoot, I said I want to have a bogey-free round, and I tried my best to focus on that.”
After birdies on holes 3, 4, and 8 on Wednesday, Grzywinski took a 3-shot lead at the turn. However, Fausnaugh made birdie on hole 12 and finished out with pars to keep the pressure on. When they crossed the street for the final four holes, it wasn’t a repeat of the birdie frenzy from Tuesday. Instead, Grzywinski said she felt the pressure and was trying to hold on instead of staying aggressive.
“Mentally, I was still in an okay place, but physically I started to get a little jittery, and I was feeling it coming down the stretch,” Grzywinski said. “The goal should always be to hit each and every shot the best I can instead of let’s just do good enough and let’s just hang on, as much as possible.”
Fausnaugh and Grzywinski pulled even on the par-3 16th (164-yards) after Grzywinski missed the green and wasn’t able to get up-and-down for par. On the 17th, both ended up on the fringe in two, but Grzywinski’s par putt lipped out, while Fausnaugh two-putted for par.
Fausnaugh didn’t make things easy on the final hole, as her second shot from the right edge of the fairway found the greenside rough. She was able to chip on and save par, eased by the fact that she didn’t know exactly where she stood.
“I hit a ton of those chips before,” Fausnaugh said. “I knew it was close, but I didn’t know exactly where I stood, and I think that helped me ease any pressure I would have felt. I am happy I didn’t know where I stood. I felt the pressure over that putt, but I didn’t miss a 3-footer all round and I wasn’t going to miss it on the last.”
With a chance to force a playoff on the 18th, Grzywinski’s birdie putt from outside 20 feet came up short, giving Fausnaugh the win with a par.
Following up on what she said is the biggest win of her career, Fausnaugh said she’ll shift her focus to the U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier on July 12 at Boston Golf Club.
“It definitely gave me a huge confidence boost for the summer,” Fausnaugh said. “It’s a great event and I really enjoyed playing.
It wasn’t necessarily the final-round result she was looking for, but Molly Smith found a way to finish strongly. After struggling with the putter at times, she sank a 20-footer on the 18th hole to finish the tournament with a birdie.
While she’s trying to find more consistency with her putting, Smith said she’s looking forward to competing in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur next month at Columbia Country Club in Maryland.
“I think it’s just more of what I’m already doing,” said Smith, who held the lead after a 1-under 70 in Round 1. “Today I had a few blow-up roles, but the past few days I haven’t really made that many bogeys so that consistency in my game, I had to keep moving forward.”
Similar to Fausnaugh, Pam Kuong also held steady with rounds of 76, 77, and 78 to win the Senior Division by a commanding eight strokes. This marks the third time in four years she has won the division.
“I know a lot of players in the field, and they’re really solid, so it’s always good to win especially over three days,” Kuong said.
Kuong said she’s now focused on qualifying for the U.S. Senior Amateur in September.
“This is certainly a confidence booster,” Kuong said. “Fortunately, I have two months to get ready for it.”
Kibbe Reilly (Wannamoisett CC; RI) earned her first victory in a New England Golf Association event, capping off the Tournament Division title by shooting a 6-over 77 in the final round. Reilly shot a 37 on the front nine, making birdie on holes 2, 4, and 8.
Kym Pappathanasi (Renaissance) shot an 84 in the final round to finish three strokes off the lead with Nancy Diemoz (Montaup CC; RI).
Reilly entered the final round four strokes off the lead, but when she stepped to the first tee Wednesday, she had her late friend Julie Green in mind. Among her many accolades, Green was a two-time winner of the New England Women’s Amateur (1972, 1978), and years ago Reilly encouraged her to come back and play in the Legends Division.
“She said ‘I don’t want that, I want them in the whole thing,” Reilly said. “She ended up winning it, and I thought it was kind of a nice symmetry of life.”
Reilly also took home the Sydney Arnold Legend Trophy (Age 65-plus).
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