GREENLAND — The outcome of this year’s New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship is in Lauren Thibodeau’s hands. There’s no arguing that point.
Thibodeau, a 19-year-old Hampstead resident, matched her first-day score by shooting a 3-under-par 69 at Breakfast Hill Golf Club on Tuesday and has an eight-stroke lead entering today’s final round.
Passaconaway Country Club’s Chelsea Sedler is alone in second place at 146. Sedlar, who won this tournament in 2016 and 2017, followed up her 72 Monday with a 74 Tuesday. Abenaqui Country Club’s Dana Harrity (76-79) and Mindy Reid (78-77) of Pembroke Pines are tied for third. Harrity has won this tournament a record 16 times.
Catching Thibodeau will be like swimming against a shark. She’s made three bogeys through the tournament’s first 36 holes, and didn’t record a bogey on her final 17 holes Tuesday. Making things even tougher is the fact that Thibodeau, who’s representing Windham Country Club, also hits the ball considerably farther off the tee than her competition.
“Chelsea hits it far, but Lauren hits it crazy far, so she’s got a lot of wedges into these greens — or short irons,” Harrity said. “I hit it about 200 yards. That’s it. Down wind I’m gonna get 205, 210 maybe. I measured it out on (the 11th hole) she hit it 80 yards by me. If she had made some putts she could have easily shot 66, 65.
“Obviously this tournament is Lauren’s to lose, or Lauren’s to win. I’ve had a seven-shot lead a few times. The only time it got close was with Tina Tombs. She won an (LPGA) Tour event.”
Thibodeau was even for her round after nine holes Tuesday, but made three birdies on the back nine. Thibodeau had a five-shot lead after the 15th hole, but extended her lead when she made a birdie on the par-4 16th hole and Sedlar ended up with a bogey.
“I think I’ll stick with the same game plan I have been doing,” said Thibodeau, who will begin her sophomore season with the University of Louisville golf team later this month. “On this course you can go aggressive in some areas, but I feel like it doesn’t give you that much.”
This is Thibodeau’s third State Am and she is seeking her first victory. She played in the State Am when she was 12 (Hanover Country Club), and when she was 14 (Windham Country Club).
“(The eight-shot lead) makes it easier that I don’t have to play phenomenal to win, but I still want to play the best that I can tomorrow,” she said.
The field will be divided into two flights for Wednesday’s final round. The top 30 golfers will form the championship flight and tee off on hole No. 1, and the golfers in first flight will begin their round on the 10th tee.
Cochecho Country Club’s Carys Fennessy (80-77-157) and Lake Sunapee Country Club’s Maggie Kennedy (81-77-158) will enter Wednesday’s round in fifth place and sixth place, respectively.
Nashua Country Club’s Tracy Martin, who beat Sedlar by one shot in the event last year at Portsmouth Country Club, is not in this year’s field.
“We’re playing for third tomorrow,” Harrity said.