Coming off a victory nine days ago in the Massachusetts Women’s Mid-Amateur championship and the momentum that goes with winning, Megan Buck’s first hole at Fiddlesticks Country Club at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur was a disaster.
On the 370-yard par 4 tenth hole (her starting hole) Buck hit a poor tee shot and posted a triple-bogey 7. Ouch. Let’s call it a hiccup and certainly not what she scripted, but to her credit the Thorny Lea GC member recovered nicely.
In one of the most important tournaments of the year, Buck went on to birdie No. 12 and bogey the par 3 seventeenth to shoot 39. Her back side was impressive posting one birdie (No. 9) and one bogey for even-par and total 3-over 75 after Round 1.
Buck grinded out Round 2 posting nines of 38-35-73, that included 3 birdies, 2 bogies and 1 double-bogey, for one-over par. She finished easily in the top 64 to qualify for match play.
The tournament encountered a few delays as a result of inclement weather, as is the norm, in southern Florida in September. Play was suspended in Round 1 at 4 p.m. due to heavy rain with 60 golfers on the course. They completed play the next day but Round 2 was also halted for one-hour due to threat of lightening in the area.
When play resumed about 5 p.m. a beautiful rainbow appeared over the Long Mean course at Fiddlesticks CC, one of southwest Florida’s premier golf communities. Round 2 was suspended at 7:30 p.m. due to darkness.
After 36 holes of qualifying two other players from Massachusetts made the cut – Tracy Martin (Vesper CC) and Mary Mulcahy (Heatherly CC).
Tracy Martin, of Wakefield, fired rounds of 74-72-146 that positioned her in the top tier of the 64-players remaining. While Mary Mulcahy, of Scituate, shot 80-73-153 earning her a spot. To round out the top 64, there was a playoff among 14 competitors for 9 spots.
The Long Mean course was too tough to handle for two other top-ranked Bay State amateurs. Tracy Welch (The Country Club) shot 82-80-162, while Mary Chamberlain (cummaquid CC) posted rounds of 84-85-169 to miss the cut. Two other Massachusetts players – 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title-holder Shannon Johnson and Sue Curtain – withdrew for health-related reasons.
As mentioned, inclement weather was a factor during the first two rounds as afternoon rain storms dampened the course and suspended play. One of the busiest volunteers was Fiddlesticks CC member and Evacuation Chairman Larry Den.
“We had some heavy rains come in from the Gulf Saturday afternoon and Round 1 play was suspended about 4 p.m.,” said Den, a popular longtime Fiddlesticks member and one-time Massachusetts resident. “The course is wet and the golf balls are not rolling at all. If the members were playing we would play “lift-clean-and-place” but USGA golf competition rules clearly state “do not touch the ball” so they are playing the ball down.”
Jennifer Peng, of San Diego, sure has figured out the stroke-play aspect of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. She earned medalist honors for the second consecutive year. Now comes the really hard part: navigating six rounds of match play to earn the trophy.
Peng blistered the 6,086-yeard Long Mean course with a 67 on Sunday in Round 2, for a 36-hole total of 6-under-par 138. She is seeded No. 1 and one-stroke ahead of 2017 champion Kelsey Chugg and three clear of two-time quarterfinalist Katie Miller. Defending champion Blakesly Brock and Krissy Carman, each 1 under, round out the players in red numbers.
The match play portion of the tournament has started and LIVE scoring is online at: