Lara Tennant’s title defense in American senior women’s golf wasn’t an easy start on Saturday.
The Tennant group was one of the oldest at Anchorage Golf Course as the constant rain filtered golfers out for the better part of their round.
but it does not matter. The three-time champion from Portland, Oregon, held steady and is co-leader after the tournament’s first two-stroke round.
Tennant, Lynne Cowan, Sherry Soto and Sue Wooster fired two of the 74 rounds to finish first in the first-place match after Saturday’s opening round. After Sunday’s round of play, the playing field will be cut to 64 and the competition will be decided by match play from now on.
“It’s definitely a challenge, and the first nine holes, the rain never stopped,” Tennant said. “That made it even more difficult. It’s a tough course and you have to think about every shot. But that’s what the USGA is.”
Tennant said she took a conservative approach and is still trying to learn the course, especially the Greens.
“Green pools are very complex,” she said. “So it’s a challenge for everyone. But to put it on, you have to put it in the right position and make some strikes.”
Soto, of Chino Hills, California, was the only one of the leaders to set off after the rain had receded.
She said playing around the green boosted her circle, which included 14 mares.
“I’m just trying to get up and down,” she said. “You know, sometimes the approach shots weren’t great, but I was able to shoot and shoot the ball so that was the key.”
Worcester, an Australian, got out at 7:40 a.m. and was behind Tennant. I made four birds a day, including a long hit on No. 13.
“I generally hit it well and hit it straight,” she said. “I haven’t played in a torrential rain lately, so it brought back some memories, I think.”
Kwan felt the heat late on her tour. California golfer Rocklin has played three of the last five holes including the 17th and 18th.
Only two shots from the leader are English golfer Eileen Greenfield, who qualified after winning the Royal Amateur and Old Women’s Championship in 2021.
Greenfield, who plays golf from Pyecombe in West Sussex, played annually in the United States before COVID-19. She said the Anchorage tournament reminded her of others she played in England much more than the Florida tournaments she generally played in the United States.
“This is really like England,” she said. “The grass is very similar to the English-Scottish-Welsh courses, and the greens are very similar.”
She was heading towards the 74 herself before a double bogey on the 16th pushed her into a 4-over.
“I was arranged in the front, not the back nine,” she said. “So I just need to reset after the nine, I think, and then play the front back nine like I did the front.”
[Alaska golfer Chesla looks forward to competing against the best at US Senior Women’s Amateur Championship]
The only Alaskan representative in the tournament, Hobbs Pam Chesla, was in the first group that kicked off with rain Saturday morning.
“It might have made me a little nervous at first but the support is great,” she said. “The women here are wonderful.”
Shisla shot +23 on the day, putting her in a tough spot to make up in the final round of Sunday’s game.
“I didn’t sleep at all last night, I’ll say so,” said Chesla. “I turned and turned. A different bed, a different place, but tomorrow is another day.”
The tournament, which is free and open to the public, continues Sunday with the final round of the stroke match. Visit USGA.org for an updated scoreboard.