Three tied for lead at USGA Women's Senior

FORT MYERS, Fla.(Oct. 9, 2010) – Sheilah Haynes, Joan Higgins and Brenda Pictor shot 1-over-par 73 to tie for the lead after the first round of stroke-play qualifying in the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,862-yard, par-72 Long Mean Course at Fiddlesticks Country Club.

Haynes, 55, of Madison, Miss., Higgins, 54, of Glendora, Calif., and Pictor, 55, of Marietta, Ga., had a one-stroke lead over defending champion Sherry Herman of Farmingdale, N.J.; Kim Eaton of Greeley, Colo.; Mina Hardin of Fort Worth, Texas; Mary Ann Hayward of Canada; and Claudia Pilot of Austin, Minn.

The Long Mean Course lived up to its name, taking a toll among some of the most seasoned competitors. Four of the top eight players were USGA champions, but none matched par.

Higgins, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, said, “I didn’t swing great, but I put myself in the right spot and I made the putts.”

Pictor made three birdies on sliding, downhill putts ranging from 12-to-25 feet. A ball in the water hazard on the eighth hole cost her a double-bogey, but the 2010 North & South Senior champion said her work on the greens saved her round.

“No three-putts was the key to my round,” Pictor said. “The speed of my putts was fabulous.”

Haynes is playing in only her second Senior Women’s Amateur and did a little jig when informed her 73 was tied for the lead. Unlike many players who first pick up a club as toddlers, she didn’t begin to play golf until she was 27.

“I am thrilled,” Haynes said. “I didn’t keep score in my practice rounds but I probably shot 82-83. I knew I could play this golf course. If I missed greens, I got it up and down.”

Among the top finishers, other USGA champions included Hayward, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, and Pilot, a member of the winning Minnesota team in the 2001 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.

Diane Lang of Jamaica, a three-time Senior Women’s Amateur champion, shot a 75. Four-time champion Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, shot a 78.

Despite her score of 74, Herman, the defender, crippled in with a double-bogey on the 462-yard, par-5 finishing hole. The hole has an island green but Herman made the 7 without ever getting her ball wet, missing the green and going from bunker to bunker before two-putting for the double-bogey.

Stroke-play qualifying in the Senior Women’s Amateur continues on Sunday with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play. The championship concludes with an 18-hole final on Thursday.

The Senior Women’s Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association. Ten are strictly for amateurs.

ABOUT THE U.S. Senior Women's Amateur

The USGA Senior Women's Amateur is open to female golfers with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 18.4, who will have reached their 50th birthday on or before the first day of the championship. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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