Newcastle’s Bailey Plourde shot an even-par 71 to take a three-shot lead over Kristin Kanngieser of the Portland Country Club after the first round of the Maine Women’s Amateur Golf Tournament at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course on Monday.
Ruby Haylock of Hartford and the Turner Highlands Country Club, who chipped in on the first playoff hole to beat Plourde in last year’s Maine Amateur at the Augusta Country Club, is four shots back at 75.
Plourde, who won the 2018 Women’s Amateur, finished strong with birdies on the 15th and 18th holes at a soggy Muni.
She also had birdies at the fifth and 10th holes and had bogeys at two, seven, nine and 11.
“I was striking the ball really well. I’ve been practicing a lot back in Kentucky and I felt confident coming into today. And my ball striking definitely showed it,” said Plourde, who graduated from Centre College in Kentucky and will continue to play college golf at Berry College in Georgia while working toward a masters degree.
She said the wet conditions proved challenging early in the round.
“On the front nine, my putting was a struggle,” Plourde said. “It was wet and I wasn’t confident putting through the breaks. But once I figured that out, I played a lot better on the back nine.”
Plourde was pleased with her approach shots including the one on the par-five 18th that led to a two-putt birdie.
“I got a lot of my wedge shots within 5 feet of the hole,” Plourde said.
She plays out of the Sheepscot Links Golf Club in Whitefield.
Kannegieser, who won the tourney in 2006 and 2010, made a nice comeback after beginning the round 4-over par after three holes.
She played the rest of the round in 1-under with birdies at five and 12 to offset a bogey at nine.
Haylock had 14 pars and bogeys on the third, fourth, seventh and 11th holes.
“I thought I played pretty well,” said Haylock, who will be a senior at Leavitt High School in Turner this fall and is a two-time state individual champion. “There were definitely a few [birdie] putts I was disappointed with but, for the most part, I was happy. I had fun.”
Katy Heskett of the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth was fourth with a 76, and tied for fifth with 8-over 79s were Maria Cianchette from the Woodlands Club in Falmouth and Maine Sports Basketball Hall of Famer Liz Coffin of Portage Lake.