By Dalton Balthaser, RIGA RUMFORD, R.I. – When Dree Fausnaugh made the turn in the final round she sat three shots behind Day Two leader Mia Grzywinski. Instead of thinking she had to press and try to make birdies, she stuck to her game plan. “I went into today knowing that Mia is a great player that doesn’t make any mistakes,” said Fausnaugh, 24, of Portsmouth, N.H. “She hits the ball really straight and doesn’t miss any putts. I knew she would be tough to catch.” Fausnaugh’s bogey-free final round of 68 was good enough for a one-shot victory in the New England Women’s Amateur Wednesday at Agawam Hunt (par 71, 5,781 yards) in Rhode Island. Fausnaugh finished with a three-day total of 3 under. Grzywinski bogeyed three of her final four holes to finish at 2 under for the tournament. One shot out of getting into a playoff after her final round of 71. “When I made my way back across the street to No. 15 (par 4, 365 yards) that’s when I felt things change,” said Grzywinski, 20, of Farmington, Conn. “At Agawam Hunt, coming across the street signifies getting to the end of the round. I was tired and I just trying to hang on. Maybe that wasn’t the best attitude to have.” Grzywinski had a two-shot lead when she reached the tee on No. 15. But then she bogeyed the next three holes to fall one shot behind. She had a 25-footer at the last (par 4, 401 yards) to get into a playoff, but it came up just short. “The goal should always be to hit the best shot that I can at each time,” said Grzywinski, a rising junior at Quinnipiac University. “That’s the biggest thing I learned.” Fausnaugh had work of her own to do. She found herself in the greenside rough for her third. It was a fairly simple chip but the pressure made it much more difficult. “I hit a ton of those chips before,” said Fausnaugh. “I knew it was close, but I didn’t know exactly where I stood, and I think that helped me ease any pressure I would have felt. I am happy I didn’t know where I stood. I felt the pressure over that putt, but I didn’t miss a 3-footer all round and I wasn’t going to miss it on the last.” She didn’t. “I was just trying to play my own game,” said Fausnaugh. “I wasn’t sure where I was on the leaderboard. I knew that I was within a few shots but didn’t know for sure. I tried to pace myself throughout the round. I wanted to stay at 3 under and I was focused on that.” Throughout the round, Fausnaugh stayed in her own element. She stayed mentally focused on what she needed to do on each given shot. She never got too high or too low. She stayed calm under pressure, and it paid off in the end. She’s the first golfer from New Hampshire to claim the New England Women’s Amateur since Dana Harrity who won the event at Keene Country Club in 2014 in her home state. “Winning this event gives me a huge confidence boost,” said Fausnaugh. “This is the biggest win of my career. Being able to come out here and beat the best female golfers in New England is awesome.” Tournament Division Kibbe Reilly of Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island claimed the Tournament Division with a three-day total of 248. She won by three shots over Kim Pappathanasi of Renaissance (Mass.) She carded a final round of 77 (par 71, 5,508 yards). “When you get all six New England states together it is a huge deal,” said Reilly, 65, of Providence, R.I. “To be able win a division of the New England Women’s Amateur means a lot.”
By Dalton Balthaser, RIGA RUMFORD, R.I. - Mia Grzywinski made the turn in 2 over and was visibly frustrated. “I was angry after making the turn in 2 over,” said Grzywinski. “I was starting to feel tired and I was hungry.” Temperatures once again reached the high 90s Tuesday with a real-feel temperature of 110 degrees at its peak. Grzywinski aided by a back nine of 4-under, is the player to beat after a second round of 69 in the New England Women’s Amateur at Agawam Hunt (par 71, 5,815 yards). A total of 71 players made the cut with 54 coming from the Championship Division and 17 coming from the Tournament Division. Her two-day total of 2 under is good enough for a two-shot lead over Dree Fausnaugh who sits at even par. Grzywinski shot 71 in the opening round. “My game turning around had more to do with being tired than anything,” said Grzywinski, 20, of Farmington, Conn. “Because I was tired I was more relaxed, and I just had to trust myself. I took a lot of the mental game out of it.” She got back to even par on her round with birdies on Nos. 11 (par 3, 121 yards) and 12 (par 5, 416 yards). Then the floodgates opened. She carded three consecutive birdies on Nos. 15 (par 4, 365 yards), 16 (par 3, 133 yards) and 17 (par 4, 349 yards). It was a crisp 8-iron from 138 yards to 10 feet on No. 15. She got away with a thin 7-iron on 16 that cozied up to three feet. And on No. 17 she smoothed a pitching wedge from 110 yards to two feet. She bogeyed the last to halt all the momentum she built but was still smiling when she finished. Throughout the round her mental attitude was one only of positivity. When she was struggling on the front nine, she kept smiling and kept her head up. You could catch her laughing with her boyfriend turned caddie Chris Fosdick, a good player in his own right at the University of Virginia. “I have been working hard on my mental game,” said Grzywinski. “I read if you are smiling when you aren’t happy it helps you get rid of any bad thoughts. It has worked well for me.” Grzywinski recently won the Hartford Women’s Open in June after a final round of 4 under-par 66. While she wasn’t in the lead heading into the final round, there was plenty she learned from that experience. “I was behind by one shot in the Hartford Women’s Open,” said Grzywinski, a rising junior at Quinnipiac University. “And I can’t say I have been in this type of position before when it comes to sleeping with the lead. I will come in with no expectations tomorrow. I will take it one shot at a time. I am going to come out here and stay calm, have fun and play.” Fausnaugh carded a round of 71, the exact same round as Monday. But birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 (par 4, 421 yards) put her in solo second. She hit a 5-iron on a string from 170 yards to six feet on the challenging last. “Today’s round was really a grind,” said Fausnaugh, 24. “I shot the same score on Monday that I did today but yesterday was a much smoother round. I tried to not get ahead of myself. There are a lot of birdie holes out here, I must stay patient. Ending with two birdies was huge for my confidence heading into tomorrow.”
By Dalton Balthaser, RIGA RUMFORD, R.I. – The temperatures played a part in Day One of the New England Women’s Amateur. Severe heat and humidity gave each golfer in the field a challenge. Trying to stay hydrated and keep their energy levels up. Molly Smith stayed cool. Smith, aided by a steady driver and iron game, seized the Day One #NEWAmateur lead with a round of 70 (1 under) Monday at Agawam Hunt (par 71, 5,825 yards). She holds a one-shot lead over Mia Grzywinski of Connecticut and Dree Fausnaugh of New Hampshire who both carded 71s Her under par round was the only one of the day out of the 93 total competitors. “I have played a lot of tournament golf recently,” said Smith. “I realized I was playing too conservatively. I was playing to the front of the green as opposed to hitting it the right distance. This course is receptive to approach shots. I tried to play the yardage and choose a club that would get me to the hole.” Smith’s start matched the weather, red-hot. “The biggest key for me playing in hot and humid conditions is to have a dry glove,” said Smith, of Vesper Country Club (Mass.). “I carry four gloves. When it is hot, and your hands get sweaty I keep that in mind.” She birdied three of her first eight holes and made the turn in 2 under. She two-putted for birdie on No. 4 (par 5, 459 yards) after hitting a 3-wood on a rope from 225 yards to 15 feet. Smith canned a 40-footer for birdie on No. 7 (par 4, 300 yards) and a 10-footer on No. 8 (par 3, 127 yards). Her final birdie of the day came on No. 12 (par 5, 416 yards) where she rolled in a tap-in birdie after a crisp chip. “I need to roll more putts in,” said Smith, 16, of Westford, Mass. “I had some good birdie looks on the back nine and I didn’t convert them. I wasn’t confident in my putter and that is not the attitude you want to have. I need to trust my putter and things will work out.” Smith recently qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md. with a round of 1-over-par 73 at George Wright Golf Course in Massachusetts. She will be in the final pairing for Day Two, but there is plenty of golf to be played. Smith said she doesn’t want to get ahead of herself. “I read somewhere recently that if you are swinging well things will work out,” said Smith. “You will make more putts. There are still two rounds to go so if I can keep that mindset and stay patient, I like where I stand.” Defending champion, Megan Buck of Thorny Lea Golf Club (Mass.) shot an opening round of 74 and sits in a tie for seventh. She started 4 over through the first two holes but rebounded with four consecutive birdies. She will look to become the first person to successfully defend the New England Women’s Amateur since clubmate Shannon Johnson did it in 2018-19. “I was proud of myself after that start, I stayed calm,” said Buck, 33, of North Easton, Mass. “This is a 54-hole event so you can’t get too frustrated too quickly.