GOLF

Defending champion among 4 golfers tied for lead after first round of US Senior Women’s Amateur in Anchorage

ADVERTISEMENT

Lara Tennant’s defense of her US senior women’s amateur golf title didn’t get off to an easy start on Saturday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennant’s group was one of the first to hit the Anchorage golf course as steady rain poured down on the golfers for most of their round.

But whatever. The three-time defending champion from Portland, Oregon has held steady and is a co-leader after the first round of championship stroke play.

Tennant, Lynne Cowan, Sherry Soto and Sue Wooster all shot 2 rounds of 74 to finish tied for first after Saturday’s first round. After Sunday’s stroke play round, the field will be reduced to 64 and competition will be decided by match play going forward.

“It’s definitely a challenge and the first nine holes the rain never stopped,” Tennant said. “So that made it even more difficult. It’s a difficult course and you have to think about every shot. But that’s what a USGA championship is.

Tennant said she took a conservative approach and was always trying to learn the course, especially the greens.

“Green complexes are very complex,” she said. So it’s a challenge for everyone. But in putting, you have to put it in the right position and just make a few putts.

Soto, of Chino Hills, Calif., was the only leader to start after the rain subsided.

She said playing around the green supported her round, which included 14 pars.

“I just try to go up and down,” she said. “You know, sometimes the approach shots weren’t so good, but I was able to chip and putt, so that was key.”

Wooster, an Australian, started at 7:40 a.m. and was one group behind Tennant. She had four birdies in the day, including a long putt on No. 13.

“I generally rolled well and hit pretty straight,” she said. “I haven’t played in much rain lately, so it brought back memories I guess.”

Cowan got hot late in his game. The Rocklin, Calif., golfer birdied three of the last five holes, including holes 17 and 18.

England golfer Aileen Greenfield, who qualified after winning the Royal and Ancient Women’s Senior Amateur Championship in 2021, is just two strokes behind the leaders.

Greenfield, who plays golf in Pyecombe in West Sussex, played every year in the United States before COVID-19. She said the Anchorage course reminded her far more of others she played in England than the Florida courses she typically played in the United States.

“This one is really similar to England,” she said. “The grass is very similar to English-Scottish-Welsh courses and the greens are very similar.”

She herself was trending towards a 74 before a double bogey on the 16th pushed her to 4 over par.

“I was tidy in the front and not so much in the back,” she said. “So I just need to reset after nine I think and then play the front nine like I did before.”

[Alaska golfer Chesla looks forward to competing against the best at US Senior Women’s Amateur Championship]

Alaska’s lone representative in the tournament, Pam Chesla of Hope, was in the first group to tee off as rain poured in Saturday morning.

“Maybe it made me a little nervous at first, but the support is just awesome,” she said. “The women here are awesome.”

Chesla shot a +23 that day, which put her in a tough spot to catch up in Sunday’s final round of stroke play.

“I didn’t sleep at all last night, I’ll say that,” Chesla said. “I tossed and turned. Different bed, different place, but tomorrow is another day.

The tournament, which is free and open to public spectators, continues Sunday with the final round of stroke play. Visit USGA.org for an updated dashboard.

ADVERTISEMENT