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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dana Harrity cruising toward another NHWGA championship

WINDHAM – Fighting back tears, Windham Country Club’s Lauren Thibodeau stressed that Tuesday’s second round of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association State Am was a learning experience.

Heading into Round 2, the Windham 14-year-old was tied with 15-time State Am champion Dana Harrity with a one-over par 73. Following a 12 on the par-five fifth hole, a nine on the par-4 10th and four more bogeys (holes three, 14, 16, 17), Thibodeau shot a plus-16 88 and left her home course tied for seventh with Campbell’s Scottish Highland’s Kaitlyn Lutinski heading into the third and final round. ...

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WINDHAM – Fighting back tears, Windham Country Club’s Lauren Thibodeau stressed that Tuesday’s second round of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association State Am was a learning experience.

Heading into Round 2, the Windham 14-year-old was tied with 15-time State Am champion Dana Harrity with a one-over par 73. Following a 12 on the par-five fifth hole, a nine on the par-4 10th and four more bogeys (holes three, 14, 16, 17), Thibodeau shot a plus-16 88 and left her home course tied for seventh with Campbell’s Scottish Highland’s Kaitlyn Lutinski heading into the third and final round.

“It was a tough round,” Thibodeau said, while getting some post-round work in on the driving range before heading to Stonebridge Country Club in Goffstown to register for this weekend’s Symetra Tour. “But you know I’m coming back and I’ll just bounce back tomorrow. There’s another day of golf to play.”

Thibodeau isn’t alone in using the day as a learning experience. The rest of the field also had its struggles on the second day of play.

Only seven golfers shot lower than 80, as Thibodeau’s Round One co-leader, Abenaqui Country Club’s Harrity, led the way with a two-over par 74 to grab a seven-stroke lead at three-over 147. Sitting in second after shooting a 79 in Round Two is Atkinson Resort and Country Club’s Christina Ricci (75-79 – 154, plus-10).

Ricci was tied with Harrity at the turn, but bogeys on 10 and 12 and a double-bogey on 11 let Harrity pull away. Ricci already has her game plan set for Thursday morning when the duo tees off the first hole at 9:20 along with Rochester Country Club’s Joan Cyr.

“All I need is a lot of birdies,” said Ricci, who is competing in her first State Am. “That’s what I plan on doing tomorrow. Lots of birdies – pars and birdies, pars and birdies – stay away from the big numbers. That’s my game plan. We’ll see what happens.”

Harrity was caught off guard when discovering the size of her lead as she goes for No. 16 Thursday. She wasn’t expecting such a gap after double-bogeying the first hole – which she eagled on Day One – and recording bogeys on the fifth, sixth and eighth holes.

“It was a pretty poor start,” Harrity said. “I came back with a birdie on two, so I was like ‘Alright, just stay in control.’ My husband said yesterday, that his dad said to him, ‘The only shot that’s important is the next one,’ and that’s so true. The next one.”

That became reality on the back nine with seven pars and birdies on 10 and 14.

“I just tried to stay as focused as I could,” Harrity said. “I made a lot of bogey’s on the front, and I didn’t feel like I played that poorly, but I kept making bogeys.

“I just tried to hang in there and I shot two-under on the back. I just hit a lot of really good shots on the back. I think I missed two greens, but I putted it both times. I was very consistent on the back.”

Tied for third with 12-over 156 is Pembroke Pine Country Club’s Mindy Inglis-Reid (78-78) and Cyr (78-78), while Eastman Golf Links’ Lisanne Schmidt rounds out the top five at 13-over 157 (80-77). The only other golfers to finish Tuesday’s round below 80 were Lutinski, who followed up her first round 84 with a 77, and Eastman Golf Links’ Collette Schmidt, who sits in 11th (87-79).

While Harrity was stressing that anything can happen, Inglis-Reid was pushing the belief that the 55-year-old North Hampton resident is well on her way to that 16th title.

“Dana’s playing great; she’s playing so steady,” Inglis-Reid said. “I think the rest of us are playing for second or third.”

For complete scores and tee times, visit www.nhwga.org.