Milne leads Women's Am

Miranda Milne tees off during Monday's opening round of the Vermont Women's Golf Amateur Championships at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury Center (Photo by Josh Kuckens)

WATERBURY CENTER — The Vermont Women’s Amateur Golf Championship isn’t exactly Miranda Milne’s first rodeo. The 23-year-old was a four-time state champion at Harwood Union High School and played another four years in college. Still, she’s less than half the age of her closest competitors. “Mandy Milne’s father and I played junior golf together,” said nine-time Am champ Holly Reynolds. Milne fired a 1-over 73 during Monday’s first round of the 2018 Am at the Country Club of Vermont, good enough for a one-shot lead over 51-year-old Andrea Brown. Reynolds salvaged a 76 despite taking four penalty strokes, leaving herself a chance to charge back during Tuesday’s second round of the three-day tourney. “There is definitely a generation gap, but it’s getting better all the time,” Milne said. “There weren’t many female golfers when I was young, young. But when I got to middle school and high school there were more that have continued to play. And they’re going to be the fillers for the Amateur in more years.” Milne tied for fifth at the Am in 2016 and placed 10th at the New England Amateur Championship last month. She was one of the few golfers who walked the course Monday despite temperatures in the low-90s, and she narrowly avoided a big number on the opening hole. “The first hole is one of the easiest par-4s: just hit it in the fairway, get it on the green, done,” Milne said. “I sculled it over the green and into the rough on the next hole. So right there on my second shot I was like, ‘Great. I’ve got to grind.’ But I ended up chipping up and making a putt, so that was the fuel of my round.” Milne drained two 12-foot birdie putts on the front nine and made the turn at 2-under following another birdie and a bogey. The Country Club of Vermont member couldn’t find her ball on the 13th hole when her approach shot sailed over the green, but she relied on a drop zone to limit the damage with a double-bogey. It also helped Milne to be playing alongside Brown, with both golfers swapping leads all day. “Andrea is an awesome player and I’ve been paired with her four or five times,” Milne said. “And we hit very similar. I think where we differ is she’s more experienced and she knows how to keep her emotions in check. ... I hope I can be as level-headed as her some day.” Brown won the Am in 2004 and finished Monday’s front nine at 3-under after four birdies and a bogey. She faced a 25-foot birdie putt on the third hole and read the left-to-right break perfectly to find the cup. She also recorded birdies on No. 6, 7 and 9 before adding a birdie on No. 17. She could have easily tied Milne but missed a 1-foot bogey putt on the final hole. “I wasn’t overly nervous,” Brown said. “I was just hitting really close shots to the pin and that’s what you have to do. I never had a putt longer than 20 or 25 feet. On these huge greens, that’s like having a tap-in almost. The front I find a little bit easier to shoot low. The back is very tricky because you have to place a lot of your shots. And if you don’t place them in the exact right spot, you’re leaving yourself a big struggle for the next shot. "Having played (Sunday), I knew it was going to be tough. So when they started to drop, it built my confidence up.” Reynolds didn’t have her best round but never blew up after hitting into three hazards and taking another penalty for an unplayable ball. The Peoples Academy graduate won five straight Am titles from 1989-1993 before launching a pro career that included two appearances at the U.S. Open. After moving back to Vermont, she won the Am again in 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2017. Although Reynolds is accustomed to being at the top of the leader board, she was happy to be 4-over considering her topsy-turvy day. “At this course, there’s places you want to be on the greens and places you don’t want to be,” she said. “It’s unique to Vermont — just the manicuring and the greens. I’ve seen undulating greens, but nothing like this. You’ve got swingers, you’ve got places where if you’re up in the wrong spot, you could be off the green (the next shot). You’ve got to be very precise. The one preparation we did do is when I played the practice round with my father, he diagrammed all the greens. So we know what it is to get to the top of something and what it is to stay below.” Reynolds found a hazard on No. 2 before making an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 4. She bogeyed No. 12 following her unplayable ball and took a bogey on No. 13 due to another hazard. “On the 12th hole I was trying for the green in two,” she said. “Another foot and it would have been a great shot, but it hit the lip of the bunker and plugged. I didn’t even want to get in and try to hit it, and then have it come back in my footstep. Because that was a possibility.” One saving grace to Reynolds’ round was that she didn’t have any double-bogeys. She even saved par on No. 15 after taking a penalty stroke. She birdied No. 16 with a 12-foot downhill putt and drove the green on the par-4 17th to set up a tap-in birdie. She was on the green in three on the par-5 18th but watched her 25-foot birdie putt roll 7 feet past the pin, leading to a bogey. “On No. 18 I was in a bad spot,” she said. “I knew, as soon as I saw it was up there, that it’s a bogey pretty much. I got too ambitious today — that was my problem. But I’ll take (76) with four penalties.” Another perennial contender high up on this year’s leader board is 47-year-old Kristin Mahoney, who placed second at the Am twice. The Rutland Country Club golfer fired an 80 and is tied for fourth with 72-year-old Reggie Parker. “A little bit of maturity here goes a long way,” Mahoney said. “The greens are crazy. So if you get different clubs in your hand, I think some of the young guns are trying to do some crazy stuff. You had to really respect the greens, and if you did that you did alright. Because you can hit a lot of drivers here. I find you can let it go and not get in too much trouble. "My goal is not necessarily to win, but if I can sneak into the top-five with this group I’ll be psyched. We’ll take one day at a time. I always respect the first day and then (Tuesday) we’ll see if we can’t let it go a little bit more and just hope for the best.” Milne, Brown and Reynolds will tee off together at 8 a.m. Tuesday, beginning on the 10th hole. The 8:10 a.m. group features Mahoney, Parker and Terry Boyce (81). Those golfers are trailed closely by Cheri Campbell (81), Carson Laderoute (81), Tiffany Maurycy (81), Jeanne Morrissey (81), Susie Bremner (82), Julia Dapron (82) and Madison Myers (82).   Vermont Women’s Am Scores

  1. Miranda Milne, 73
  2. Andrea Brown, 74
  3. Holly Reynolds, 76
  4. Kristin Mahoney, 80
  5. Reggie Parker, 80
  6. Terry Boyce, 81
  7. Cheri Campbell, 81
  8. Carson Laderoute, 81
  9. Tiffany Maurycy, 81
  10. Jeanne Morrissey, 81
  11. Susie Bremner, 82
  12. Julia Dapron, 82
  13. Madison Myers, 82
  14. Mary Brush, 83
  15. Katie Goulet, 83
  16. Jenna Wood, 83
  17. Dana Cassidy, 84
  18. Patricia Haas, 86
  19. Barbara Shiffler, 86
  20. Gretchen White, 86
  21. Nancy Devaux, 87
  22. Lisa Trubiano, 87
  23. Shelly Yusko, 87
  24. Brenda Grassey, 88
  25. Ginny Chenoweth, 89
  26. Rhonda Colvard, 89
  27. Judy Geissler, 89
  28. Kimberly Barkyoumb, 90
  29. Kelly Albright, 91
  30. Kathy Kemp, 92
  31. Patty McGrath, 92
  32. Renee Carter, 93
  33. Melissa Lafayette, 93
  34. Jen Steck, 93
  35. Gara Cain, 94
  36. Alyssa Barnes, 96
  37. Cheryl Hoar, 96
  38. Denise Holmberg, 97
  39. Bette Ann Libby 98
  40. Carol McGowen, 98
  41. Jo Allsopp, 100
  42. Deidre Mahler, 100
  43. Kimberly Fadden, 101
  44. Josie Herrera, 101
  45. Cathy Neff, 101
  46. Patricia Baroudi, 102
  47. Peg McBride, 102
  48. Phyllis Simon, 102
  49. Sarah Angelillo, 103
  50. Lauri Brown, 104
  51. Susan Rand, 105
  52. Lauryn Goulet, 106
  53. Julia Quackenbush, 107
  54. Sue Fox, 108
  55. Linda Maney, 109
  56. Phyllis Phillips, 109
  57. Sis Capeless, 111
  58. Chris Johnson, 113
  59. Laurel Myers, 115
  60. Kathy Sikora, 117

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