OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (Sept. 10, 2011)
– Mary Ann Hayward of Canada fired an
opening 2-under-par 70 to take the early lead
in the first round of stroke-play qualifying in
the 2011 USGA Senior Women’s
With half of the 132-player field still on the
course, the 51-year-old Hayward led the
morning wave. She edged defending champion
Mina Hardin, 51, of Fort Worth, Texas, by two
strokes on the 5,876-yard, par-72 Honors
Course. Last year, Hardin
squeaked past Hayward in the semifinals, 1 up,
and went on to win the championship.
Hayward said Saturday was the
finest ball-striking day of her life. “I hit
18 greens and missed one fairway,” she
said. “I sort of figured out the putting
stroke halfway through the second
Hayward struggled early with her
putter. Teeing off on No. 10, she made a lone
birdie on an 18-foot putt on the 15th hole and
then missed a 2-foot birdie putt on No.
“It was ugly,” Hayward said
of the short putt. “I told myself to just
forget trying to make putts and get it rolling.
Coming in, I hit some really good
Hayward, who won the 2005 U.S.
Women’s Mid-Amateur as Mary Ann
Lapointe, made birdie putts of 10, 25 and 24
feet on three of the last four holes to offset
two three-putt greens.
Hardin had three birdies against three
bogeys for her even-par round.
“I’m very pleased,”
Hardin said. “I hit a couple of
‘Oops’ out there but Gary, my
husband and caddie, said not to let it bother
me. I’m happy with a 72. It was a good
It was a good day for USGA champions.
Mary Budke, 57, of Palm Spring, Calif., the
1972 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion,
was in with a 1-over-par 73. The 2004 Senior
Women’s Amateur champion, Carolyn
Creekmore, 59, of Dallas, Texas, fired a 74.
Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., who
owns seven USGA titles, including four Senior
Women’s Amateur championships, shot
Budke, 57, retired in November as an
emergency room physician and is returning to
competitive golf. The former U.S.
Women’s Amateur champion is also a
former Curtis Cup player and captain but said
it’s hard to regain her competitive
“If I play in competition I do not
hold up under pressure,” Budke
Asked how competitive golf could be more
stressful than providing medical assistance in
emergency rooms, Budke said: “It was
easier to do the other because I did it on a
regular basis. When you don’t play golf,
the game becomes hard. There’s the
pre-shot routine, or whatever, and I’ve
worked really hard on my little things. It comes
together sometimes. If I can hold it together
to make the cut, then I can make a run at
Fog delayed the start of Saturday’s
play by two hours and 10 minutes. Stroke-play
qualifying continues on Sunday and the low 64
player will advance to match play. The
championship concludes with an 18-hole final
the 2004 USGA Senior Women's Amateur
champion, shot 2-over 74 Saturday. (Fred