The deepest field in golf this week might be the one at Anthem (Arizona) Golf Club. On one side of the scoreboard, a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion has the lead. On the other, a Curtis Cup captain with three Women’s Mid-Amateur titles of her own is setting the pace.
The inaugural Ladies National Golf Association Mid-Am and Senior Championship is like a who’s who in women’s amateur golf. The resumes are staggering, but the opening day was plenty challenging.
“It a great golf course which tests you,” said Meghan Stasi, co-leader in the mid-am division. “But the wind died down a little today from the practice rounds and I could attack a few more pins.”
Scores: LNGA Mid-Amateur & Senior Championship
Stasi, who is an eight-time Player of the Year honoree in Florida, had five birdies offset by three bogeys and a double in and opening round of even-par 72. Gretchen Johnson, the 2017 and 2018 Oregon Golf Association Tournament of Champions winner, matched her with a 72 that included one bogey and one birdie.
“I kept it where the lawnmower goes most of the day,” said Johnson, a semifinalist at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. “It’s kind of tight, like target golf and I hit a lot of greens and I got it up and down every time.”
Behind that pair, 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Lauren Greenlief and Dawn Woodard, who will partner with Stasi in next week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, are tied for third at 74.
Kelsey Chugg, a Salt Lake City, Utah, resident who won the Women’s Mid-Am in 2017, had a 75.
In the senior division, Sarah Ingram, still a few months removed from her Curtis Cup captain duties this fall, was 3-over through four holes but overcame early struggles to finish with 75. That’s one stroke better than Corey Weworski, the 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Am winner from Carlsbad, California. Past U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur champion Mina Hardin, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Evelyn Orley, of Cardiff, California, trail Ingram by two.
“I had to work hard today,” said Ingram, who made three U.S. Curtis appearances as a player. “It was not an easy 75. I hit some good shots. My game was better than it’s been since coming back two years.”
Both championships are 54-hole stroke-play events in their inaugural year and are conducted by the Ladies National Golf Association.