Kristen Macdonald of Billerica, Mass., watches a shot Wednesday during the final round of the New England Women’s Amateur at Natanis. Macdonald won by a shot after dropping a five-shot lead in a late six-hole stretch.
By BILL STEWART Kennebec Journal
VASSALBORO - Kristen Macdonald lost her game and the lead with consecutive double bogeys in an eventful back nine Wednesday in the final round of the 56th New England Women's Amateur at Natanis Golf Course.
But, said the 23-year-old from Billerica, Mass., "I didn't get nervous. I knew I wasn't down. I knew if I played my game, stuck to my game, I would be OK."
Macdonald shot a 4-over 76 and finished with a three-day total of 222 to win the title on the 5,506-yard course.
Macdonald fended off a late charge from Sam Morrell, 21, of North Kingstown, R.I., who finished one shot behind.
Pam Kuong, the defending champion, finished third at 231. Jen Holland and Katie Partridge were next, each at 235.
Emily Bouchard, a Saco native and the defending Maine Amateur champ, shot an 84 to lead Maine golfers with a 243.
Marie Cates (259), Dale Hannon (263), Ashley Chubbuck (281) and Jennifer Durant (285) led the Natanis golfers.
Connecticut won the team title with a score of 648. The first gross, first net and second net were totaled each day from all six New England states. Maine finished fourth with a 659.
But this day belonged to Macdonald, who held the lead from the opening round.
"It's the biggest tournament win I've had," said Macdonald, who graduated from Fairfield University in 2011. "I've been playing this tournament since 2006, and to come here and play my best and come out on top, it feels really, really good.
"I knew everyone was chasing me but as long as I played my game, I knew I could do it."
It wasn't easy.
Macdonald, who entered the final round with a three-shot lead over Morrell, played the front nine even.
Morrell, who won this tournament in 2010, was at 2-over 38 and faced a five-shot deficit at the turn.
"I knew I had to chip away," she said, "and I did."
The turning point came on the 163-yard, par-3 13th.
Macdonald three-putted for a double bogey after her tee shot went too far left. Morrell, meanwhile, saved par with a nice up-and-down.
"I whacked it all over the place on that hole," Macdonald said.
On the next hole, the par-5 14th, Macdonald again got into trouble, taking a drop and a one-stroke penalty after hitting her ball into the woods to the left of the fairway.
Again she settled for a double bogey.
Morrell capitalized on the misfortune when she buried a 15-foot birdie putt that erased Macdonald's lead.
"I made a great run," Morrell said. "I got it down to two shots and then I got even. I had some momentum."
But she never grabbed the lead.
Macdonald went in front for good when she parred the par- 4 16th while Morrell missed a short putt for par and settled for a bogey.
"All I wanted to do after that was go par-par and I did," Macdonald said. "I made a nice up-and-down on 17 and closed it out with a par."
Macdonald had just one birdie, which came on the par- 4 second hole. After a bogey on the par-3 fourth, she stayed consistent with consecutive pars until her round nearly came unglued on the 13th.
"I tried to just stay consistent," Macdonald said. "I think I did that."
Added Morrell: "I thought I had a chance. I think I just got too excited. I couldn't go for it on the 15th and there was no excuse for not making par on 16. I made it a good run but it just wasn't enough."Tweet