- Golfer Benefits
ANDOVER, Massachusetts – After some much-needed rain, the skies cleared for the start of the 72nd Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Indian Ridge Country Club. Across three divisions Wednesday, there are two comfortable leads in the clubhouse, and one divisional winner was crowned.
Indian Ridge Country Club is a proud supporter of Mass Golf events, having hosted at least one event almost every year for the past 10 years. The Geoffrey S. Cornish designed course was founded in 1964 by the Demoulas family, owners of the Market Basket grocery chain, with a friendly par-72 layout.
In the Championship Division, Megan Buck (Thorny Lea GC) got into a rhythm early on and was able to walk into the scoring area with the only under-par round on the day, shooting a 3-under 71. A round filled with a handful of birdies and only one bogey, Buck was quite pleased with her performance in the opening round.
“Today was one of those very rare rounds where it just seemed pretty easy,” Buck said. “Everything stayed out of trouble, I was in the fairway and giving myself some good irons in. And the greens are pretty receptive today, a little soft from all the rain, so I was able to fire at some pins. Pretty much easy two-putt pars most of the day which is very nice.”
A pair of matching back-to-back birdies on both the front and back nine, were strong highlights of her round, but the cool, calm, and collected leader in the clubhouse was casual in her recounting of the holes.
“I can never remember; I know one of them was a par-3 where I hit it to like 20 feet and made a good putt from there,” Buck recalled. “The hole before I landed it to about 5 feet so that was a bit easier.”
Having been in the hunt at many events this season, Buck has been putting in some extra work, as of late, and feels a lot more confident with her ball-striking abilities.
“It’s always great to be at the top of leaderboard no matter what,” she said. “I feel like especially for me this year I’ve been feeling like I’ve been struggling with my game a little bit not really playing as well as I would have hoped, so to have a day like today where it was pretty stress free seeing the ball go where I wanted to, it’s really nice and a real confidence booster.
“I had a lesson with our assistant pro, Cody [Sweeney], not long ago,” Buck added. “We are working on a different turn through the ball, which I know that’s something I’ve been fighting with, but I finally was like ‘alright, just take the time really work on it.’ The last couple times I’ve been out it was really ugly, and then today it started to feel a little more natural and really started to click.”
Rounding out the top three, Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) and Lindsay Cone (Granite Links GC) will join Buck in the morning as they try to make up some ground on the comfortable lead that Buck has created.
Kris Henderson (Bedrock GC) carded a 4-over 78 in her quest to take home some Mass Golf hardware this season. Her round was highlighted by three birdies, but the true enjoyment came from being comfortable playing “her game” and being with friends.
“Because I had such a great group, I was able to just stay focused… shot by shot, hole by hole,” Henderson said. “I was very relaxed and I hit the ball well and I was putting well. I got up and down a few times, and that really helps with the confidence.”
The only blemish on her card was a triple bogey on the 341-yard, par-4, 8th hole. Henderson said she was discouraged by the shots that got her into that situation, but she gave a lot of credit to her playing partners, Kim Walecka (CC of New Bedford) and Sally DeGan (LPGA Amateurs Boston) for keeping her in the right mindset moving forward throughout the round.
“I really didn’t know how well I was playing,” Henderson said. “I don’t add up scores during these events, so when we got to the 18th hole I knew I had two birdies on the card, and I said to myself, ‘Oh if I birdie this it would erase that triple.’ And I hit the birdie. That was cool.”
Henderson has a three-stroke lead on her closest competitor, Krista Fulton (William J Devine GC), heading into the final round of the Tournament Division. There are a handful of competitors, all familiar names in Mass Golf competitions, within striking distance of second place, just a stroke or two behind. With the amount of camaraderie amongst this group, surely the many will walk away proud of their performances.
“I love what Pam Kuong said about her fellow competitors at the Women’s Senior Amateur this year — we are cheering each other on. We are hoping that everybody plays great, and that means the world to me. I did that today because I had playing partners that I was happy for, and they were happy for me for every good shot.”
Representing her home club, Nicola Ericson won the Flighted Division with an 18-hole score of 17-over 91. This was her first appearance in a Mass Golf individual event, and she was thrilled to have won it at her home course.
“I’ve usually held up the bottom very well, so it’s kind of nice to be at the top this time,” Ericson said. “My game has been horrible lately so it helped to to be on my own home course. It very nice to be a representative in that way. It’s a great golf course and the event was really well run.”
Congratulations to the other top 5 competitors from the Flighted Division: