2017 champion Kelsey Chugg (USGA photo)
Some familiar names are once again near the top the leader board in Round 1 of the rain-delayed U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, including a group of players within two strokes of the lead who have combined to win 16 USGA titles.
2017 champion Kelsey Chugg holds the clubhouse lead after a 2-under 70. She is joined at 2 under by three others: 2015 champion Lauren Greenlief, 2017 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur winner Judith Kyrinis and Ana Alicia Malagon Perez, of Mexico, all of whom were still on the course when play was suspended due to darkness at 7:24 p.m. EDT.
2021 Women’s Mid-Am stroke-play medalist Jennifer Peng and Old Dominion University head women’s golf coach Mallory Kane carded 1-under 71s, while two-time quarterfinalist Katie Miller is 1 under through 17 holes. A group at even par includes four-time Women’s Mid-Am winner Meghan Stasi, two-time titlist Julia Potter-Bobb and seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port (through 12 holes).
Chugg, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah, started quickly with a birdie on the short par-5 opening hole at the 6,199-yard, par-72 Fiddlesticks Country Club (Long Mean Course) in Fort Myers, Fla. She dropped strokes on Nos. 4 and 5 but would not have another blemish on her scorecard. She added birdies at the short par-4 seventh, par-5 11th and par-3 17th.
“I was pretty steady,” said Chugg, who has made match play in each of her four Women’s Mid-Am appearances. “I hit a lot of fairways and a ton of greens. I made a couple of good up-and-downs in the middle of the round that really kept the momentum going.”
Peng picked up where she left off in the stroke play portion of last year’s championship. The 2018 graduate of Yale University made three birdies on the outward nine at Fiddlesticks (Nos. 2, 4 and 9). Despite a double bogey at No. 15, she closed with an eagle on the par-5 18th to pull within one of the lead.
Last year, Peng set championship records for the lowest round (66) and the lowest 36-hole stroke-play total (136), but lost to No. 64 seed Aliea Clark, 1 down, in the Round of 64.
“That was my first competitive event since returning to the game after college,” said Peng, 26, of San Diego, Calif. “It’s been so much fun, having my brother come out and caddie for me. I’m just really looking to improve my finish from last year.”
Kane, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va., will be busy in the coming days. In addition to playing for a national championship herself, her team is competing in their first tournament of the season, the three-day Badger Invitational in Madison, Wis., which starts tomorrow.
“I'm sure they haven’t even noticed I'm not there,” joked Kane, who has led the Monarchs to five straight NCAA tournament appearances. “I know they can go play well without me. I appreciate their support. They know I also have dreams and aspirations in golf that aren’t tied to coaching.”
Potter-Bobb, 34, of Indianapolis, Ind., birdied her opening hole and was under par for most of the day until late bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17. Still, the Director of Business Operations and Membership for Indiana Golf is well within striking distance of earning stroke-play medalist honors for the fourth time, which would tie the championship record owned by Port.
Defending champion Blakesly Brock, who is looking to become the first player to win back-to-back titles since Stasi in 2006 and 2007, birdied her final hole, the par-5 18th, for a 1-over 73 – better than either stroke-play round last year at Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton, S.C., when she earned the No. 27 seed.
“I was more excited than feeling any extra pressure,” said Brock, 26, of Chattanooga, Tenn. “I just tried to take it one shot at a time and it’s a long week. Marathon, not a sprint.”
Round 1 of stroke play will resume at 7:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, followed by Round 2 of stroke play. The low 64 players will qualify for match play, which will begin on Monday. If necessary, a playoff to determine the final match-play spots will take place on Monday morning.
by Mike Trostel, USGA
ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur
The U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur originated in
1987 to provide a national competitive arena
for amateurs 25 and older. Besides the age
restriction, the event is open to those with a
USGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or lower. It is
one of 14 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly
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