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Women's Amateur ChampionshipCheck out pictures from the Women's Amateur on Facebook
By Paul Kenyon
EAST PROVIDENCE _ Lisa Griffin McGill is determined not to let the college stars dominate the R.I. Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship.
McGill, the 2005 champion in this event, is the only semifinalist in the event at Agawam Hunt who is not still in college. On a day that included the best scoring of the week, McGill staged a tremendous performance in blitzing Angel Macleod, 7 and 5, in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
McGill was 4-under-par on the day, and never lost a hole. Still, she barely had the best performance of the quarters. Her opponent in the semifinals, medalist Susie Cavanagh, had a very similar day.
Cavanagh, the former Pilgrim three-sport star who now plays ice hockey at the University of Connecticut, also swept to a 7-and-6 triumph over Nancy Diemoz. Cavanagh also never lost a hole, never made a bogey. She was 5-under for the 12 holes, including an eagle on the par-5 sixth.
The other semifinal will pit two former All-Staters who also attend college in Connecticut. Kelsey Hayward, a former Bay View star now at Sacred Heart, topped Mage Foss, 4 and 2, and former state Interscholastic champion Nicole Scola of Westerly and Quinnipiac, held off Kibbe Reilly, 3 and 2.
Strong performances by the college players have come to be expected. McGill has become the one player most often in the way of the college sweep. A summer resident and member at The Misquamicut Club, she has had a number of excellent performances, none better than the one she turned in against Macleod, a Wanamoisett member who was a tournament semifinalist last year.
Macleod summed up what happened.
``I birdied the seventh,’’ she said of the short par-4. ``I didn’t win it. She did, too.’’
McGill also had birds on 4, 6, and 12, all par 5s, in earning her spot in the semis. She shrugged off her big day.
`I didn’t putt out all of them,’’ she noted, saying that two were conceded. ``We had a great day out there. It was fun.’’
Cavanagh continued her outstanding play all week as she won six holes in a seven-hole stretch beginning at the third. She was 4-under in that run, including the eagle on six. She had 40 yards left for her third on that hole.
``I dunked it,’’ she said of the shot that went in on the fly. ``It was neat. I’ve always wanted to do that. I had never done it before.’’
Hayward lost the first hole to Foss but then came right back with a deuce on the par-3 second. She won 5 and 6 to take control and did not look back.
Scola had to work to get past Reilly. Scola won 3, 4 and 5 to go up by three. Scola birdied both 6 and 8 but could not build on her advantage because Reilly also birdied.
``It was a ridiculously tough match,’’ Scola said. ``Kibbe’s so nice but so tough to play against. Even if you outdrive her, she hits it close and makes you play well.’’
Round of 16 Recap
EAST PROVIDENCE _ Nancy Diemoz provided both the upset of the day and the highlight of the day Tuesday as match play began in the R.I. Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship at Agawam Hunt.
Diemoz rolled in a 30-foot putt from off the green on the 19th hole to edge Melissa Hem. Hem was the eighth seed, Diemoz the ninth seed.
Diemoz, the wife of Montaup pro Steve Diemoz, used her golfer’s memory to help her drain the winning putt.
``She (Hem) had that same putt this morning,’’ Diemoz related. ``It was that kind of day. I made a lot of good putts today after I missed then all yesterday.’’
``Even the ones she didn’t make were right there, the kind where you go ``oohh,’’ Hem said.
The two had a wild match that saw only four of the 19 holes halved. Hem went up early. Diemoz was 1-up through 11 before Hem won 12 and 13 to go ahead. Diemoz answered that by going par-birdie-par to win 14, 15 and 16 and go 2-up. Hem won both 17 and 18 to force extra holes.
The other highlight of the day was the work of the mother-daughter duo of Marge Foss and Matison Leand. Mom won while her daughter was eliminated.
Marge Foss edged Judy Davis, 1 up, in another great match. Davisd fell behind four different times but rallied to tie each time. When she won the 14th, she was ahead for the first time. But Foss won both 16 and 17 with pars to advance.
Foss’ daughter, 17-year-old Matison Leand was beaten by Lisa McGill Griffin, the 2005 winner, 5 and 4. McGill was only one-over on the front side in the way to the victory.
The other high seeds won. Medalist Susie Cavanagh ousted Felicia Revens 6 and 5, defending champion Nicola Scola swept past Leann Casario 9 and 7, Kelsey Hayward beat Angela Brunero 4 and 3, Kibbe Reilly got past Annie Corio, 3 and 2, and Angel Macleod, the fourth seed, had to work to get past Bette DiDonato, 2 and 1.
``It was a good match,’’ MacLeod said. ``I knew I was in trouble when I birdied the first hole. It never seems to be good when I do that.’’
MacLeod, a semifinalist last year in her first year in the event, fell 2-down when DiDonato won 2, 3 and 6. DiDonato was still 1-up through 13 before Macleod won 14, 16 and 17 to take the 2-and-1 decision.
Reilly also was tested in her match. She and Corio were even through 11 before Reilly won 12, 13 and 15, all with pars.
Qualifying Round Recap
EAST PROVIDENCE - For a part-time player, Susie Cavanagh has a terrific golf game.
The former three-sport star at Pilgrim High was so good on Monday that she captured medalist honors in the R.I. Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship at Agawam Hunt. Her four-over 76 edged fellow collegian Kelsey Hayward by one shot for the top spot.
Still another college star, Nicola Scola, who also is the defending champion in this event, took third, with a 79.
The top three know each other well since they have grown up competing against each other. Cavanagh is a bit different than the other two in that golf is not her priority right now. She excelled in field hockey, ice hockey and golf in high school and has opted to focus on ice hockey at the University of Connecticut.
``It was tough making a decision,’ she said, ``but I have a small window for hockey. You can only play for so long. Golf you can play all your life.’’
Cavanagh took a regular turn as a forward for the Huskies and scored three goals on the season.
``I grew up playing hockey. I just love hockey,’’ she said. ``I want to play it while I can. I loved playing field hockey in high school, too, but I grew up with (ice) hockey.’’
Since school ended, Cavanagh has been playing a lot of golf to get her game in shape at Agawam, her home course. She dealt with a different challenge, though, in the Amateur.
``I usually play from the back. I like playing from the back,’’ she related. ``Playing this way (about 600 yards shorter) makes for different course management on some holes. I’m hitting wedges (for second shots) instead of five irons.’’
Cavanagh had three birdies, but was a bit disappointed with her finish, a double on the par-3 16th and a bogey on the par-4 17th.
Hayward, a former All-Stater at Bay View who now attends Sacred Heart University, had a chance to match or edge Cavanagh but finished bogey-bogey. She had no complaints.
``I played well and had fun,’’ she said.
Scola, who played in her Quinnipiac University shirt, got off to a shaky start with a double on the first hole. She was 4-over through six before steadying and playing well from there.
The event is being run for the first time under the auspices of the Rhode Island Golf Association. The men’s and women’s organizations merged at the end of last year and now form one large organization.
The field is one of the smallest in years, with only 25 players. Several factors have contributed, said Katie DeCosta, the new director of women’s golf and member services. A number of possible competitors are involved in the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, which began on Monday. The top high school players were taking part in the New England Interscholastic Championship that began Monday. And finally there are several member-guest events this week which are in conflict with the Amateur Championship