ROUND 1 AT SCHUYLER MEADOWS
By Bob Weiner
LOUDONVILLE – Call it a Towson University invasion, and a successful one at that.
Three Towson (MD) University teammates, including Albany-native and host club member Jenny Buchanan, grabbed three of the top four spots after the opening round of the 88th annual New York State Women’s Amateur Golf Championship Wednesday at Schuyler Meadows Club.
Alexis Hilos of Westchester Country Club carded a 68 (-4) to grab a two-shot lead over Towson teammate Alix Lowe of Colonial Springs Golf Club and 33-year-old Ina Kim of Deepdale Golf Club. Buchanan, an IMG Academy graduate who will begin her junior season as a Towson Tiger in the fall, shot 71 (-1) to tie Siena College’s Sara Riso (NYSGA e-Club Western New York) for fourth place as five players broke par.
In the NYS Women’s Mid-Amateur division, which played from a shorter set of tees and to a par of 73 rather than 72, Julie Murphy of Brookfield CC fired a 77 (+4) to lead Kim Kaul of Gowanda CC by one stroke. Pat Mayne, a multiple NEWGA champion who plays out of both Cedar Lake CC and Western Turnpike, was third with a 79 (+6), while former NYS Mid-Amateur titlist Nancy Kroll of Pinehaven CC is T5 with an 81 (+8).
As she prepared to leave the scoring tent, Hilos didn’t seem certain of her score.
“I had an idea I was having a good round, but I don’t like to know my score normally,” she said. “My dad was on the bag, and he was keeping track. I figured if I birdied the 18th hole, which I did, I would have a 68. That’s my best tournament round ever.”
After bogeys on the first and fourth holes, the 2013 NYS Girls’ Amateur champ settled down and played strong golf with six birdies the rest of the way. Her highlight was hitting her approach shot to two inches and tapping in for birdie on the 11th hole.
“Jenny talked to us a little about the course,” Hilos said. “She told us it was straight forward. What you see is what you get. The greens are fast, but the course is fair. My plan was to hit it as close to the pins as I could but also to hit it to the center of the greens.”
Lowe bogeyed her opening hole but collected birdies on the second, fourth, 12th and 15th holes to stay within striking distance of her Towson University teammate.
Kim, originally from California, is a 2005 Northwestern graduate who moved to Manhattan a couple of years ago. She won the 2016 WMGA/MGA Women’s Met Amateur by three strokes.
“I couldn’t get up here this week for a practice round, so I came up about a week ago,” she said. “The course is tough. You’ve got to be on the correct side of the pin. Some of your tee shots are visually deceiving. But I was pretty pleased. It was a fun round to play. Jenny was a lot of fun to play with.”
Buchanan, carrying the hopes of the Capital Area contingent, was happy with her performance: “I’m very happy with the way I played. The greens were really fast. I hit a lot of greens, and two-putted. Speed control was key. I was also very happy to have my brother (touring pro Jeb Buchanan) on the bag. He’s been playing this course longer than I have and really knows the greens.”
A 20-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole sparked her round. “I got some momentum going for me,” she said. “I picked up my game after that. My ball striking was pretty good. It’s been coming along.”
Asked how she felt about being in contention for a possible title, Buchanan said: “That would be great, but I want to take one shot at a time right now. I know I can play well here. I’m very proud of my teammates. They all played well today.”
Braman, who became the first female player from Section II to make the state team since former LPGA star Dottie Pepper of Saratoga Springs in 1983, was solid with her 76.
“It was a bit of mix of everything,” she said. “I had some funky drives, and I had a couple of bad holes, but I also had a couple of birdies.”
EAGLE SPARKS MAYNE
Mayne got off to a great start with an eagle on the third hole, but she had problems on her back nine during her 79 that put her into contention in the NYS Women’s Mid-Amateur competition. Her 7-wood approach shot led to a 45-foot eagle putt.
“I travel a lot for work, and I play all around the state now, including in Buffalo and Binghamton,” she said. “The last time I played here at Schuyler, I had an ace on the 12th hole.”
Kroll, a former NEWGA champion who won this year’s Schenectady Classic women’s division, shot an 81 that included three birdies. She’s tied with Mary Scatena of Pinehaven CC.
Thursday’s second round will start a half-hour earlier (7:30 AM) because of projected bad weather. The field in both divisions will be cut in half for Friday’s final round.
Top Capital Area Players
NYS WOMEN’S AMATEUR
T4 71 (-1) Jenny Buchanan (Schuyler Meadows Club)
T9 76 (+4) Madison Braman (Shaker Ridge CC)
21 83 (+11) Sarah Adamowski (Fox Run)
T23 85 (+13) Isabella Diaz (NYSGA e-Club CD)
28 89 (+17) Emma VanDeCar (The Edison Club)
T29 90 (+18) Laura Rentz (Olde Kinderhook GC)
NYS WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR
3 79 (+6) Pat Mayne (Cedar Lake Club)
T5 81 (+8) Mary Scatena (Pinehaven CC)
T5 81 (+8) Nancy Kroll (Pinehaven CC)
T7 82 (+9) Kim Lloyd (Shaker Ridge CC)
T9 83 (+10) Karen Feldman (Olde Kinderhook GC)
T9 83 (+10) Mary Jo Kelly (Wolferts Roost CC)
T16 85 (+12) Margaret Malicki (Schuyler Meadows)
T16 85 (+12) Mar Sicard (Queensbury CC)
T18 86 (+13) Cheryl Haggerty (Schenectady Muni)
T18 86 (+13) Mary Ellen Burt (Mohawk GC)
22 89 (+16) Ella Kellogg (Glens Falls CC)
T23 90 (+17) Gail Brophy (Saratoga National GC)
T23 90 (+17) Katie Vitello (Executive Women’s Golf Ass.)
26 91 (+18) Laura Couch (Mohawk GC)
27 92 (+19) Rachel Barlette (Shaker Ridge CC)
T28 96 (+23) Beth Currier (Queensbury CC)
T28 96 (+23) Cindy Delappa (Queensbury CC)
30 97 (+24) Cricket Coleman (Columbia G&CC)
31 101 (+28) Cherie Bramley (Mohawk GC)
32 124 (+51) Judith Finley (Columbia G&CC)