Shannon Johnson (USGA photo)
HYDE PARK, Mass. (July 30, 2018) – When it comes to winning championships, every bit of preparation and information is critical. There are few competitors in this year’s field who know that better than Shannon Johnson, which is why the Thorny Lea GC member made sure to get a look at the George Wright GC layout prior to today’s first round.
“Luckily we were able to get out last Monday and take a peek at the course,” said Johnson who already this year has won the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy and the NEWGA Championship. “Being able to play it was huge. The people who went around and looked at it had less of an advantage. You need to know exactly where you are going to hit the ball and where you are going to drive it because there are some blind tee shots. You need to know where to hit it.”
The advance knowledge of the Hyde Park course served Johnson well on Monday. She finished with a score of 1-under par 71 to capture stroke-play medalist honors and earn the top seed in the Championship Flight. Her round – the only under-par round of the day – featured three birdies on the front nine.
“It was kind of an interesting round,” said Johnson. “I hit some good shots and not-so-good shots. I missed some putts, and I made some putts. I didn’t even know how I stood once we got onto the back nine, and then I grinded out some pars and got in with 1 under.”
After making birdie on her very first hole of the day, Johnson scrambled to save par on her second hole and then almost turned in a birdie on the 450-yard, par-4 third hole. A bogey on the fifth hole was quickly erased by birdies made on the seventh and then on the ninth hole where she sent her approach from the right rough to 10 feet.
“It was a good way to start,” said Johnson, who just last week came up one stroke short to finish second at the Ouimet Memorial Tournament. “It was really good to get that one on 9 because it was a really tough pin from where I drove the ball. It was good, and I am happy.”
Although she would not make another birdie on the day, Johnson posted a 2-under par 34 at the turn and then held strong on the back nine with one bogey and eight pars. She finished two strokes ahead of her next closest competitors.
“Getting it in the fairway and having a good opportunity to stick it close is huge especially in match play,” said Johnson, who advanced to the finals of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. “The more times you are in the fairway the better just to get under your opponent’s skin a little bit. It doesn’t ever have to be too flashy.”
Finishing T-2 at 1-over 73 were Claire Sheldon and Krystal Knight, while Sue Curtin was the lone player to post a 2-over 74. Four competitors – Emily Nash, Makenzie Curtis, Pam Kuong and Anne Walsh – are T-5 with scores of 3-over 75.
Weather permitting, the round of 32 for both the Championship & President’s Cup Flights will be contested on Tuesday at George Wright GC. The round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place on Wednesday with the semifinals and finals coming on Thursday. Both the semifinals and finals will be 18-hole matches. In the event of a tied match, the winner shall be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole play-off.
ABOUT THE Massachusetts Women's Amateur
18-hole stroke play qualifier for 2 match play flights of
32 players. Must have a current established GHIN
handicap from a Massachusetts Golf Association
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