- Golfer Benefits
SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts – It’s been 18 years since The Orchards Golf Golf Club hosted the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open and 27 since it hosted the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. But decades later, the course is every bit as challenging for all competing.
On a comfortable sunny day for Round 1 of the 119th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur, the majority of those who have managed this track the best happen to be junior golfers (18 and younger), many of whom weren’t even born the last time Orchards hosted either of the aforementioned championships.
Westford sisters Morgan Smith and Molly Smith of Vesper Country Club were the lone two golfers to avoid plus-figures on Monday and currently lead the way with scores of 1-under 71 and even-par 72, respectively.
After another 18-hole round of stroke play Tuesday, the low 32 scorers will advance to match play on Wednesday. The Round of 32 and Round of 16 will take place Wednesday, followed by the quarterfinals and semifinals Thursday and the 18-hole final match Friday.
In total, 6 of the top 11 scorers are still junior golfers, including Sandwich’s Emma Abramson (The Ridge Club). The Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur champion is three strokes off the lead at 3-over 75. She’s tied with Isabel Brozena (Indian Ridge Country Club), a 2-time Massachusetts high school individual state champion.
University of Virginia standout Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook Country Club), the medalist last year, is in third at 2-over 74.
Monday was the first time all three Smith sisters — Morgan, Molly, and Maddie — competed all together in one Mass Women’s Amateur. And so far, it looks like there’s a good chance all three will make it to match play.
They’re currently placed from oldest to youngest as, Morgan currently holds a 1-stroke lead over Molly, while Maddie is currently T19 after shooting an 83.
“It’s kind of funny,” Morgan said of having all three sisters on the course. “This is Maddie’s first time playing [the Mass Women’s Amateur] so to see her on the golf course is a little weird. Molly is definitely one of my biggest competitors so I’m happy with that.”
Morgan spread out her four birdies, making them on 5, 9, 14 and 16, on the strength of her approach shots.
“It was pretty steady all day,” she said. “The birdies, three of them were almost kick-ins which was nice.”
Molly, who made the semifinals of last year’s Mass Women’s Amateur, had an early birdie on the 2nd and got back to even-par with birdies on the 12th and 16th. Molly is coming off an appearance in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Chambers Bay (Washington) the week prior.
A stellar summer has continues for Emma Abramson who has benefited from strong starts lately. For the most part that held true Monday. Despite two early bogeys, Abramson said she just started hitting “good shots” as she rolled in four consecutive birdies on holes 13-16, including an 8-footer for birdie, and made the turn at 2-under.
Abramson played in the Girls’ Junior Amateur last year at The Orchards. Though the course then was set up to about 5,600 yards compared to over 6,000 now, she says it hasn’t fazed her too much.
“Since I’ve gained a good amount of distance this year [off the tee], it doesn’t feel like it’s that different, so it’s been good,” said Abramson, who earned one of the final spots into match play last year.
“I’m just looking to have fun, see what happens,” she added. “I’m just going to put out the best stuff I can do, drop as many putts as I can and see how it shoots you up the leaderboard.”
Isabel Brozena is in the midst of her third Mass Women’s Amateur. Despite some early nerves, Brozena bounced back with birdies on 6 and 16 as she seeks to make another run in match play. After a loss in the Round of 32 last year, she’s hoping to stick around for longer this week.
“My goal right now is to get into Thursday (quarterfinals and semis),” Brozena said. “I am definitely used to playing in this event now so it wasn’t as nerve-wracking. I realized that if I wanted to make the cut, I just needed the start playing well.”
Leading the Western Mass contingent is Angela Garvin, (The Ranch Golf Club), the 2019 champion. The University of Maryland standout sank a couple birdies on the back-nine Monday to finish with a 77, good enough for 6th. Garvin is one stroke ahead of Sue Curtin (Boston Golf Club), the Senior Division winner of the New England Amateur, who birdied both par-5s on the back nine.
Monday was also a big day for 11-year-old Ryley Regan, as the youngster is the lone member of The Orchards in the field. Regan shot a 91, and had a sizable gallery, including her family, following her on the course.
“It was a really fun experience,” Regan said. “I was a little nervous playing with kids that we a lot older than me, but I had a great time.”
To read more about Regan, CLICK HERE
Here are some other tidbits from Day 1 at the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship.
⛳️ Featured Hole ⛳️
Back in 2004, the @uswomensopen was held here at The Orchards, and on the 15th hole @MegMallonUSA hit the shot of the Championship. This week, we’re excited to see if anyone is able to recreate that magical shot at the #MassWomensAm. #MassGolf pic.twitter.com/3006SIHq85
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) August 15, 2022
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) August 15, 2022