Thursday , August 07, 2014 - 8:23 PM
OGDEN – Day One of the 2014 Utah Women’s State Amateur golf championship got underway amid mild temperatures and pleasant blue skies Wednesday at the Ogden Golf and Country Club.
Of course words like “mild” and “pleasant” belie the challenges presented by the course itself.
The OGCC, while certainly in excellent condition just a month removed from hosting this year’s men’s state am, offered its usual assortment of trees plus lots of thick rough and small, evasive greens.
The course didn’t necessarily win Day One, but it surely wasn’t beaten very often.
BYU golfer and Washington Terrace resident Lea Garner eagled No. 17 and birdied 18 to finish with a 5-under 67, giving her a six-stroke lead after the opening round. She was the only player in the field to finish in red numbers.
“The rough was really rough,” said North Ogden resident Tara Green, a soon-to-be senior at Montana. “I was in it and I could barely get out of it. It was playing a little different than the practice round I played.”
Green shot a 7-over 79, one stroke behind Ogden High standout Xena Motes and one ahead of ex-Weber State star Kelsey Chugg, the tournament’s two-time defending champ.
The tournament will continue with stroke play today then get into match play Friday and Saturday.
As the defending champ, Chugg has a spot reserved for the weekend. Still, she wanted to get off to a better start.
“It was just a few small errors that ended up costing me,” she said. “I feel like I can get it around now. Maybe I was trying to guide it around too much or whatnot.”
Chugg wasn’t the only one saying such things. The OGCC, which turns 100 this year, isn’t a monster in terms of length – about 5,600 yards from the ladies tees – and it doesn’t have many hazards. But there is trouble all around and its smallish green complexes are hard to hit, even from the fairway.
After her round, Green admitted as much.
“I only hit seven greens today,” she said.
But she also noted that she was able to save a few strokes with a solid short game, which featured some nice chip shots and consistent putting (she three-putted only once).
After some recent rain showers, the OGCC’s greens weren’t exactly speedy – Green referred to them as “pretty medium” on Wednesday – but as the week goes on and weather warms up the surfaces will quicken. Even under ideal conditions the greens have quite a bit of undulation to them, which means they’re sure to test players throughout the tournament.
Chugg’s opening round was evidence that golf isn’t more about managing emotion and less about being perfect.
She started out well enough but ran into trouble when she took a double-bogey on No. 7, an innocent-looking par 3 near the tennis courts. The setback challenged her mentally and she bogeyed Nos. 8 and 9 to fall to 5-over at the turn.
But she showed some toughness and bounced back to shoot a 39 on the back.
“It hit that shank (and) it took me a few holes to kind of re-group,” she said. “It’s hard after you hit (a bad shot) because it’s just in the back of your mind.”
“I always want to play my best,” she added. “It’s just frustrating, a little disappointing but it’s another day tomorrow.”
Contact reporter Jim Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StandardExJimbo.
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