RUMFORD, Rhode Island – Agawam Hunt Club hosted the 65th New England Women’s Amateur, a 54-hole stroke play event with a field of 120 premier females from the six-state New England region, with Dree Fausnaugh, of Pease Golf Club (New Hampshire) posting rounds of 71-71-68-210, for a 3-under par total, to edge Mia Grzywinski, of Country Club of Fairfield (Connecticut) by one stroke.
With temperatures reaching into the 90s for three days Dree Fausnaugh was steady and consistent firing a bogey-free 3-under-par 68 in the final round to take home the prestigious title for the first time at Agawam Hunt Club, that played as par-71, stretching to 5,781 yads. Fausnaugh is the first golfer from a New Hampshire club to win the title since Dana Harrity won in 2014.
Heading into the final round Dree Fausnaugh admitted she didn’t think she could slow down Mia Grzywinski. Grzywinski, a member of Quinnipiac’s Women’s Golf team, made birdie eight times in a 16-hole stretch from in Round 2 to Round 3.
“She’s a great player, and I really just assumed that she was going to make everything, and just kind of tried to do the best that I could chasing her, and eventually it evened out toward the end,” said Fausnaugh, a former standout at the University of Central Florida. “I just reverted back to shooting what I wanted to shoot, I said I want to have a bogey-free round, and I tried my best to focus on that.”
After birdies on holes 3, 4, and 8 on Wednesday, Grzywinski took a 3-shot lead at the turn. However, Fausnaugh made birdie on hole 12 and finished out with pars to keep the pressure on. When they crossed the street for the final four holes, it wasn’t a repeat of the birdie frenzy from Tuesday. Instead, Grzywinski said she felt the pressure and was trying to hold on instead of staying aggressive.
“Mentally, I was still in an okay place, but physically I started to get a little jittery, and I was feeling it coming down the stretch,” Grzywinski said. “The goal should always be to hit each and every shot the best I can instead of let’s just do good enough and let’s just hang on, as much as possible.”
Fausnaugh and Grzywinski pulled even on the par-3 16th (164-yards) after Grzywinski missed the green and wasn’t able to get up-and-down for par. On the 17th, both ended up on the fringe in two, but Grzywinski’s par putt lipped out, while Fausnaugh two-putted for par.
Fausnaugh didn’t make things easy on the final hole, as her second shot from the right edge of the fairway found the greenside rough. She was able to chip on and save par, eased by the fact that she didn’t know exactly where she stood.
“I hit a ton of those chips before,” Fausnaugh said. “I knew it was close, but I didn’t know exactly where I stood, and I think that helped me ease any pressure I would have felt. I am happy I didn’t know where I stood. I felt the pressure over that putt, but I didn’t miss a 3-footer all round and I wasn’t going to miss it on the last.”
With a chance to force a playoff on the 18th, Grzywinski’s birdie putt from outside 20 feet came up short, giving Fausnaugh the win with a par.
Following up on what she said is the biggest win of her career, Fausnaugh said she’ll shift her focus to the U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier on July 12 at Boston Golf Club.
“It definitely gave me a huge confidence boost for the summer,” Fausnaugh said. “It’s a great event and I really enjoyed playing.
Lauren Thibodeau, of Windham CC (NH), finished 4-over for third place, while Angela Garvin, of The Ranch GC (MA), posted 5-over to finish fourth. Mary Mulcahy, of Hatherly CC (MA), was T-5 with 6-over, as was Molly Smith, of Vesper CC (MA). Megan Buck, of Thorny Lea GC (MA), was 7-over for seventh place.
(Material from Mass Golf was used in this report)