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Harrity win N.E. Amateur

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 02. 2014 9:32PM

Dana Harrity had come close. So close, many times.

But never had she been able to finish things off and win the New England Women’s Golf Association Championship.

Until Wednesday.

Harrity, 55 and 15 times a winner of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association title, added a major piece to her list of golf accomplishments when she rallied to beat two-time New England amateur champion Tara Joy Connelly of Massachusetts by a stroke at Keene Country Club.

“It’s the biggest tournament win of my life,” said Harrity, who plays out of Abenaqui Country Club in Rye. “I had come close to winning New England many times.”

This time she was better than close.

Harrity had rounds of 71-73—72 for an even-par score of 216. Joy Connelly was at 76-70-71—217 and Pamela Kuong of Massachusetts finished at 73-74-72—219.

Harrity had the only sub-par round on Monday to grab the tournament lead and held a two-shot lead on Joy Connelly and three on Kuong going into Wednesday’s play.

The lead didn’t last long.

Joy Connelly and Kuong each came up with a few birdies and Harrity struggled out of the gates.

“I was two shots behind on the 13th hole and was thinking I’m in big trouble now,” Harrity said. “I hadn’t made birdies. I was coming up short on every single putt. I couldn’t get the ball in the hole.”

It was becoming a two-golfer race and Joy Connelly bogeyed No. 15 and Harrity had a par to pull within one shot.

Harrity birdied No. 16 and Joy Connelly had a par and they were all even. Harrity put her wedge to within four feet on the par 3 No. 17 and made her birdie putt to go a shot ahead when Joy Connelly parred.

Then Harrity pulled a 4-wood shot on No. 18 onto the road and took a drop. She put a 9-iron about 30 feet from the pin.

A two-putt was going to win the hole.

“I knew that I was hanging on for dear life,” Harrity said. “The greens were slow and I said to myself, ’You’ve done this a million times, you’ve been in this spot a million times. Just get it close. Get it close.’ I thought I hit it too hard and as it turned out it rolled to about four inches from the cup and I tapped in.”

She had her long-sought title.

“I wasn’t even thinking when I entered this tournament about winning,” Harrity said. “I was not really thinking I had a chance. I didn’t know how they had it set up.”

In the end, it was set up perfectly for her game and required hitting it straight and staying in control, she said.

“When I got there and played my practice round, I thought, ’Hmm, who knows what could happen?’ ” Harrity said.

As it was, she became the first New Hampshire golfer to win the New England tournament since Laura Shanahan Rowe in 2002.