WATERBURY, VT – With the only under par round of the day, Morgan Smith of Vesper Country Club in Massachusetts, has set herself up with a 4-stroke lead at the start of the New England Women’s Amateur Championship at the Country Club of Vermont.
The 18-year old carded 6 birdies in her opening round, but the story of the day was her climb out of a 3-hole slump of bogeys on the front nine to bring her back into the red by the end of the day.
“I thought I played very well today,” said Smith. “It’s a tricky golf course with fast greens. You have to miss in the right places and get the ball on the right tear of the greens or it’s very tricky. I swung well and hit a couple key shots and I made a good amount of birdies which helps.”
Throughout the round, Smith kept her composure and managed her game without being too worried about the numbers. “The wind was a lot stronger on the front I thought and it was easy to just get a little of track. I didn’t take the bogeys personally because the misses weren’t that off they just got up in the wind and it knocked it down so I just shook it off.”
Smith attributed her putting to being one of the bright spots for her today. “I putted pretty good too, obviously more could have dropped but I lagged some long ones close and made a few 5-8 footers that made a difference.”
Heading into tomorrow, Smith knows just how important it is to not get too far ahead of herself with the lead that she has. “Going into tomorrow obviously there is still a lot of golf left to play, just going to stick with my game plan- fairways and greens and trying to give myself as many good looks as possible.”
There are several familiar Massachusetts amateurs at the top of the leaderboard, including her younger sister Molly Smith. The Bay State contingent makes up nine of the top ten spots after 18-holes. 2020 Champion, Megan Buck, sits tied for sixth and just inside her are three of the four past Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Champions, Angela Garvin, Shannon Johnson (2018 & 2019 NE Women's Amateur Champion), and Catie Schernecker.
In the Senior Division, Sue Curtin of Boston Golf Club in Massachusetts, also has a comfortable 4-stroke lead, carding a 1-over 73 on the day. Rounding out the top three is a tie for second at 5-over by Jen Holland from Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Connecticut and Pamela Kuong of Charles River Country Club in Massachusetts.
There are two tee sets in the New England Women's Amateur Championship. The Championship tee is a gross-only competition played from approximately 5700 - 6000 yards (yardages subject to change). The Overall Champion, Runner-Up, and Junior Champion will be awarded from this tee set. The Tournament tee is a gross & net competition played from approximately 5600 - 5800 yards (yardages subject to change). The Senior & Legend Champion will be awarded from this tee.
After tomorrow’s round, the field will be cut to the low 50 players (and ties) after 36-holes. The 50 players will be made up of a prorated number of players from each tee set based on the number of players registered.
The host site of this year’s Championship, the Country Club of Vermont, is set in Vermont’s Green Mountains in the valley between the Worcester and Mansfield Mountain ranges. The scenic 18-hole course was designed by Canadian architect and amateur golfer Graham Cooke in 1998. In addition to having a front nine “reminiscent of the Irish Links, it’s known for its bent grass greens, tees and fairways framed by blue grass rough and outlined by native fescues.