Joy-Connelly pushes Florida to early lead at U.S. Women's State Team
Tara Joy-Connelly
Tara Joy-Connelly

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Tara Joy-Connelly's opening-round of 67 at Dalhousie Golf Club has the Sunshine State of Florida out to a one-shot lead over Georgia during the first round of the U.S. Women's State Team championship.

Joy-Connelly is a former representative of Massachusetts, having represented the Bay State seven times before. This, her second time as part of the Florida squad, is certainly off to a stellar start. She made six birdies to go along with a lone bogey at the par-4 14th as her and teammate Meghan Stasi (71) teamed up to post an aggregate total of 6-under 138.

Joy-Connelly won the 2003 and 2013 Massachusetts Women’s Amateurs, and is a six-time Massachusetts Women’s Open champion. Her most recent triumph was this year when she captured the Florida Women's Mid-Amateur.

Second-place Georgia had solid performances from all three players, though only two scores count each round. Leading the way was Emilie Meason with 69, followed by reigning U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur champion Margaret Shirley. Though Lauren Lightfritz's score (71) was dropped, she sits in sixth place individually with her 1-under par round on Thursday.

Abby Portyrata led Virginia to a third place spot through the first round, birdieing three of her last five holes to shoot 70. The Commonweath State sits at 2-under, two strokes ahead of fourth-place Maryland, who took two 72s from Aneka Seumanutafa and Delaney Shah.

Results: U.S. Women's State Team
1MAShannon JohnsonNorton, MA50071-70-71=212
T2MISarah HoffmanSaline, MI40073-72-73=218
T2GAEmilie MeasonAtlanta, GA40069-73-76=218
T2PABrynn WalkerRadnor, PA40071-76-71=218
T2UTKelsey ChuggSalt Lake City, UT40075-71-72=218

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ABOUT THE U.S. Women's State Team

The USGA State Team Championships grew out of the Association's Centennial Celebration in 1995, and have been held on an every-other- year basis since. 52 men’s teams (including teams from Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) compete for the trophy named in honor of former USGA President James Hand. Fifty women’s teams compete for the trophy named for past USGA President Judy Bell.

State golf associations select three of their top non-college amateurs to represent them in this biennial team championship. The top two scores of the three players count toward the team total for each of the three days.

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