Tara Watt (NHWGA photo)
By Alex Hall New Hampshire Union Leader
Tara Watt postponed her wedding this summer but celebrated another special moment Wednesday at Bretwood Golf Course.
The 37-year-old Derryfield Country Club member and Manchester resident won the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship for the second time, shooting a 7-over 223 over the 54-hole, stroke play tournament.
Watt, who won the 2011 State Am at The Golf Club of New England in Stratham, planned to skip the tournament this year. She was supposed to get married on June 26 at Josiah’s Meetinghouse in Epping but rescheduled the wedding to next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With an unexpected week’s worth of vacation time available, Watt entered the State Am on the second-to-last day of registration.
“I was like, ‘What else am I going to do?’” Watt said. “We’re quarantined and can’t go anywhere, so might as well go play golf.”
Watt, who had not played Bretwood since her high school career at Kennett of Conway, shot a 2-over 74 on Wednesday after posting a 76 on Monday and a 73 on Tuesday. She entered Wednesday tied with Atkinson Resort and CC member Barb Hecimovich for second place, as both were a stroke behind Intervale CC member Johnna Lorry.
Hecimovich and Lorry, who both played alongside Watt on Wednesday, shared runner-up honors after both finished at 10-over 226. Lorry posted the lowest round of the tournament with her 1-under 71 on Monday. The runner-up finish was a career-best in the State Am for both Lorry, 36, and Hecimovich, 58.
Watt said she adjusted her game and hit irons off every tee box because the 6,976-yard course was playing extremely short.
“(Wednesday), I was just going to come out here and try to make 18 pars and I knew that would probably be good to stand out,” Watt said. “I didn’t do that but it still worked out.”
Watt sunk a long-range putt to eagle No. 5, bogeyed No. 9 and No. 10, posted a double bogey on No. 15 and parred the rest of the course. The Southern New Hampshire University assistant women’s golf coach had a two-stroke lead at the turn and was 4-up after 14 holes.
After Watt sunk her putt to make par on the final hole, she jumped in excitement and proclaimed that she was no longer a “one-and-done” winner.
“I think that that eagle that I made on five was a huge momentum booster and I hit a driver and a wedge — that’s not normal to make an eagle,” Watt said. “But I made a bomb of a putt and that just kind of got me going and I was just real focused and just trying to hit fairways and greens and make some putts.”
Lorry, who is from Manchester and now lives in Bedford, said she hit good approach shots and made putts over the first two days of the tournament, which allowed her to lead after both rounds. Lorry, who said she plays golf only about 6-10 times a year, birdied on the third and fifth holes on Wednesday.
“The bad shots were a little worse (Wednesday) and I had to scramble around to get to where I needed to be but being 6-over (Wednesday) is right where I usually play,” said Lorry, who has played in the State Am six times.
Hecimovich, of Hamilton, Mass., double bogeyed No. 3, which she said she knew would be hard to come back from.
Intervale CC member and 15-year-old Eva Gonzales placed fourth with a 12-over 228. Abenaqui CC member and 16-time State Am champion Dana Harrity took fifth with a 13-over 229. Gonzales, a soon-to-be sophomore at Nashua High School North, shot a 74 and Harrity shot a 79 on Wednesday.
ABOUT THE New Hampshire Women's Amateur
54-hole stroke play championship. Must be a
of the NHWGA, and a
resident of the state of New Hampshire; non-
residents must have been a member of
NHWGA for 3 years.
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