OAKLAND — It wasn’t the sharpest round of golf Leslie Guenther has played, but after coming close to winning the Maine Women’s Amateur a couple of times, she wasn’t going to take style points over victory.
“I’ve been the leader going into the third day. I’m so relieved. I’m sorry I didn’t play better today but I’m so pleased with my effort (Tuesday),” Guenther said.
Guenther, who plays out of Norway Country Club, shot a 9-over 82. That, combined with the 75 that gave her the lead Tuesday, was enough to lift Guenther to the championship at Watervillle Country Club.
Guenther finished two strokes ahead of Mary Brandes (159), and three ahead of Bailey Plourde and Mikki Meggison, who each finished at 160.
Emily Bouchard, the two-time defending champion from Saco, shot 84 on Wednesday and finished with a two-day score of 164.
Monday’s opening round was rained out.
On Wednesday, there was a 1-hour, 8-minute weather delay when a brief storm made conditions unplayable. The final group of Guenther, Brandes and Bouchard was on the ninth hole when play stopped.
When play resumed, there were often delays as the final groups waited for others to finish holes.
“You sit around for an hour and you cool off, and things change a little. Right after that it was hit a shot and wait five minutes,” Bouchard said.
“It certainly didn’t help,” Guenther said of the delay. “We had to putt on nine, and you’ve been waiting 45 minutes, an hour, I don’t know how long it was, but all of a sudden you’re playing competitive golf again. It doesn’t feel like a competition anymore.”
Just before the delay, Guenther, who entered the day with a three-shot lead on Brandes and a five-stroke edge on Bouchard, relinquished the lead to Brandes after a run of bad holes.
“I was 1 under through four and I felt great. I played so beautifully (Tuesday). The first four holes today I felt the same way. Then the wheels sort of came off,” Guenther said.
Guenther bogeyed the par-5 fifth and par-3 sixth, then went in the water in front of the green on seven, taking a triple bogey.
“Those two holes, six and seven, I made bad club choices. I didn’t hit enough club on six and I don’t know what I was thinking on seven,” said Guenther. “I hit a good shot, I just didn’t hit a full shot because I didn’t think I needed to. I was so shocked when it went in (the water).”
Guenther reclaimed the lead after the delay when Brandes had back-to-back double bogeys on nine and 10.
Guenther, who finished tied for eighth last year, led previous Women’s Maine Amateur tournaments entering the final day, only to be passed for the title.
Her birdie on the par-5 third hole was key, especially after Brandes and Bouchard bogeyed the hole.
“More than anything I’m relieved,” Guenther said.
Bouchard looked poised to make a run after a birdie on the first hole, but bogeyed the next two and never found a rhythm, particularly on the greens.
“I had six lip-outs today. What’s there to say?” Bouchard said. “It’s been a frustrating day.”