HAMPDEN, Massachusetts– Shannon Johnson, of Thorny Lea Golf Club, took control of the New England Women’s Golf Association Championship in the first round of 54-hole tournament and did not relinquish the remaining rounds.
Following 54 holes of stroke-play at GreatHorse against a field of some of the top golfers from the six-state New England region, Johnson, 35, maintained her composure and captured her second consecutive NEWGA Championship title. She now joins the roster of back-to-back champions, a feat that has not been achieved since 1995-96 when Tara Joy had the honors.
Johnson, who works for PING Golf, finished with a three-round score of 1-over par 217, which was seven strokes better than second-place finisher Krystal Knight, of Bradford Country Club, and third-place finisher Megan Buck, also from Thorny Lea GC. It marks her second career NEWGA Championship crown and her first major win of the 2019 season.
After posting the only under-par performance on Monday with a 71, Johnson continued on a consistent path and distanced herself from the field with a 1-over par 73 on Tuesday. Although she would go on to fire two 1-over par rounds, no other competitor would finish a round within striking distance of the back to back champion.
“I was happy with how I was hitting the ball today,” said Johnson, who is the reigning U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, winning the esteemed title at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis last September. “I got myself into solid position off the tee but I think everyone was having a hard time getting a good read on these greens. When I was finally getting comfortable and gaining confidence around them I would fall back into a three-putt. A bit frustrating for everyone I’m sure to not be as consistent as we want to be.”
Joined by Johnson as the only other players to fire under par rounds at GreatHorse were Knight on day 2 with a 1-under par 71 and Buck on day 3 with a 1-under par 71 as well.
“I started off really well today but on the 4th hole I found myself in a difficult lie and did not play the following shots the way I wanted to,” said Knight. “After that triple bogey I got into a better rhythm and started to hit a lot of greens. I know I was overthinking my short putts so I needed to make that adjustment to keep playing well and stay competitive with Shannon and Hannah.”
Before Johnson and Knight made it to the scorer’s table, Buck finished her round under-par making the jump from yesterday’s T6 finish to T2 but after a USGA match of cards it would place her in solo 3.
“I stayed out of trouble out on the course these past two days,” said Buck. “I hit pretty much every fairway and a majority of the greens giving myself the opportunity to make a lot of two-putt pars. It was a safe round of golf today.”
For the third day in a row, Massachusetts took over the leaderboard with eight of the top 10 spots. Pam Kuong (Charles River CC) finished at 10-over par 226 winning the Senior division and rounding out the top 5 competitors fellow Bay Stater Hannah Ghelfi (Pocasset GC) would also finish 10-over par 226.
Lauren Thibodeau (Windham CC) represented New Hampshire well with a 15-over par 231 finish capturing the Junior division and Mim Schreck (Oronoque GC) from Connecticut would go on to win the Legend division with a 52-over par 268.
CREDIT: Mass Golf Staff
PHOTO CREDIT: David Colt Photography