by Jennifer Hawkins, special to Golf News Net
Day 1 of the US Senior Women’s Amateur is in the books, with the first of two days of stroke-play qualifying in Point Clear, Ala.
Kathy Hartwiger of Birmingham carded a 3-under 69 to lead the charge heading into Day 2, when the top 64 players will advance to match play. The Alabama native posted four birdies on the treacherous front nine of the Dogwood Course at Lakewood Club, adding a fifth on the back nine to close out with 69.
Defending champion Lara Tennant overcame four front-nine bogeys against just one birdie with three more birdies on the back nine to close day one at even par. Tennant’s 2019 finals opponent, Sue Wooster, carded a 76 to end the day at T-18.
A total of 25 participants in this year’s US Senior Women's Amateur were exempt from qualifying by being age-eligible and in the top 30 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Other exempt players include those turning in a 72-hole score from the recent US Senior Women’s Open, past US Senior Women’s Amateur runners-up, past US Women’s Amateur Champions and runners-up, as well as US Mid Amateur Champions and runners-up.
US Senior Women’s Open low amateurs were just off the pace. Past US Senior Women’s Amateur champion Elle Port shot a 1-over-par 73, while Martha Leach posted 79. Fellow U.S. Senior Women’s Open amateur Laura Coble shot 75.
Kelley Nittoli of San Antonio, Texas and Tracy Welch of Winchester, Massachusetts, were the low scorers from USGA Regional Qualifiers with rounds of 70. Nittoli posted 77 and Welch posted 78 on Day 1 at the Lakewood Club.
The top 64 competitors after Saturday’s conclusion of stroke play will advance to match play Round of 64 beginning Sunday morning.
The field will flip waves on Saturday, with Friday’s afternoon group set to start at 7:30 a.m. Central time on Saturday, while the Friday morning group will begin teeing off Saturday beginning at 12:15 p.m.