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.