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Co-leader Tracy Martin watches her drive on the second hole during the second day of the New Hampshire Women's Golf Association State Amateur at Nashua Country Club Wednesday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

NHWGA State Am

Youths assert themselves in NHWGA State Amateur

NASHUA — Dana Harrity, defending champion and 15-time winner of the New Hampshire Women's Golf Association State Amateur, figures she'll be on the outside looking in at the three-way shootout that will determine the 2013 champion today at Nashua Country Club.

"I'll be watching," Harrity said. "It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in that group."

The group is made up of three 20-somethings who are among the best young golfers in the state and have turned this three-day tournament into a one-day, 18-hole dash for the title.

Lisanne Schmidt of Eastman Golf Links in Grantham, Tracey Marshall of Abenaqui Country Club in Rye and Tracy Martin of the host Nashua Country Club are all tied with 3-over par totals of 147 going into today's final round.

They tee off in the final group at 10:50 this morning.

Harrity is four shots back at 151 and Colette, Lisanne's sister, is another four behind that. Tara Watt of Derryfield in Manchester is at 82-74-156.

"It's a one-day tournament now," said Martin, 23. "We're all friends. You've just got to play the course and focus on yourself. We all have the abilities to go low."

They've done it so far.

Martin, 2-under through 13 holes on Wednesday, finished with a par 72, the second-best round of the day, for her 75-72-147 total.

Lisanne Schmidt, 24, shot the only par round on Tuesday's opening day and came out of it with a three-shot lead over Martin and is at 72-75-147.

Marshall was 4-under on the front nine on Wednesday, struggled some on the back and then pulled out a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to post a tournament-best round of 2-under 70 and earn her share of the lead at 77-70-147.

They made the tournament wide open.

"It could be anybody's," Lisanne Schmidt said. "The conditions are good and we're all capable of scoring well. I typically play better, the better the people I'm with are playing. That's how it needs to be. I'm really looking forward to it."

Marshall had four birdies in her first eight holes, gave a couple of shots back later, and was putting well.

"My driver got me in some trouble and my putter was my friend today," Marshall said. "I got a lesson a couple of days ago at Abenaqui and it's helped. I picked up a few things and it's worked so far. And hopefully my driver straightens out."

Marshall, 21, had an eventful last couple of holes. On No. 17, she drove a little left into the rough and had to punch out her second shot and ended up with a bogey. On No. 18, she was even more left off the tee and her ball hit a tree.

"That was scary," she said.

But the ball bounced back into the fairway, she hit a solid second shot and a great approach put her within three feet of the hole for a closing-out birdie.

None of the young front three golfers has won a State Am.

"Whoever comes out on top it will be their first," Harrity said. "It's very exciting."

As for the 15-time champ?

"I'd have to shoot something pretty incredible and they'd all have to be bad," Harrity said. "They're not all going to blow up. It's not out of reach, but with all three of them tied and four strokes ahead, it makes it that much tougher."

Harrity felt she was playing well and made a move with birdies on holes No. 11 and 12, but then had a couple of bogeys and a double bogey down the stretch to finish at 75 for the day.

Now she mostly has to watch the shootout from the group in front of Schmidt, Martin and Marshall.

"It's a clean slate and anything can happen," Marshall said. "I should know that from last year. You have to say focused."

Last year, Marshall had a one-shot lead going into the final hole in the State Am at Hanover Country Club and shot a 10 on the hole, opening the door to Harrity.

"I try to think of it in terms of learning from it," Marshall said. "Like a life lesson."


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