Allison Paik (Mass Golf Photo)
DEDHAM, Massachusetts – It hasn’t been a busy summer golf-wise for Allison Paik, Mary Mulcahy, or Mekhala Costello, but based on their play Monday, one could’ve been forgiven for believing otherwise.
Paik, Mulcahy and Costello each shot 3-over-par 73 to share the lead in the opening round of the 120th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship at Dedham Country & Polo Club. Hosting for the first time since 2001, Dedham packed a pretty sizable punch in Round one, with its swirling winds and lightning-quick and firm greens.
“I used my whole bag today for sure,” said Paik, the 2020 champion and Columbia University senior, whose appearance in this year’s Women’s Amateur marks the first tournament she’s played this summer. She said an internship has tied up most of her time over the past ten weeks.
“It’s always an honor to play this tournament, especially after winning it three years ago,” she added.
Just like her victory three years prior, Paik rolled the ball well on many of the Seth Raynor template greens. She made birdies on two of the five par-3s, including a birdie putt inside 20 feet on No. 5, named ‘Short’.
On No. 14, with the signature biarritz green that is 70 yards deep with a swale in between, Paik hit it six feet left of the pin and made the putt for her third and final birdie of the day.
“I was surprised that I made a few long putts. Maybe it was a bit lucky on that, but I was trusting my line for the most part and seeing where it ended up,” Paik said. “Other than that, I think I’ve become a lot more consistent over the years.”
Paik, who plays out of Cape Club of Sharon, previously played at Dedham in 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Qualifying, except that was a rainy and chilly spring day.
“It was definitely a lot colder and wasn’t rolling out as much,” Paik recalled. “Today I was taking different lines, but that was just a good visual coming into this tournament.”
Mulcahy (Hatherly Country Club) played Paik in the semifinals three years ago and finds herself in a good position to make match play once again. Though her lone birdie came on the 10th, Mulcahy made 14 pars and avoided big numbers to stay in control the entire time.
“My dad was giving me a lot of really good reads on the putting greens, and it was just a fun day,” said Mulcahy, 29, a former University of Central Florida standout. “I’m just happy. Every stretch out there is better than being in the office. I love to play. I’m very competitive, and it’s nice I can do this the rest of my life.”
Costello (Blue Hill Country Club), a multi-sport athlete at nearby Canton High School, said she exceeded her own expectations. She bested the field on the front nine with a 1-under 35 en route to her 73. Costello won Low Net honors last year and said playing this championship helped her establish what to expect.
“I just came in here trying to make the cut,” said Costello, who will begin high school soccer season after this week. “I kind of got a late start this year (June). I wasn’t playing as well earlier on, but I always like hard courses and fast greens, so I think this suits me better.”
Costello gave a few strokes back on the back nine but closed the day on a high note. She hit a sweet 6-iron on the Reverse Redan 17th and sank the 10-footer for birdie to move into a tie for the lead. She then two-putted from off the green on the 18th to save par.
“I’ve never really felt what it’s like at the top of the leaderboard, but I think playing in my club championship this past weekend, and then that going well, I kind of like the feeling,” Costello said. “It’s definitely a lot different here. I know that it’s a long tournament, so with that in my mind, I just need to say levelheaded.”
Coming off her third straight appearance in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club) shot 5-over 75 as she tries to win the Mass Women’s Amateur for the first time. Her older sister, defending champion Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club), shot 78, one stroke above Rebecca Skoler, who played Smith in the final match last year.
Tied with Molly Smith is Lillian Guleserian (Blue Hill Country Club), who finished third earlier this year in the New England Women’s Amateur Championship. Guleserian made her lone birdie on the par-4 9th with a 20-footer, a testament to her short game practice during the winter.
“My plan was to take driver, and I pushed it right, but not in trouble,” Guleserian said, described playing the 9th hole. “These greens, there’s not as much break as I think, so I just played that one dead straight.”View results for Massachusetts Women's Amateur