Hershey, Pa. – Lisa Schlesinger, 54, of Laytonsville, Md., carded a 4-under-par 70 Saturday on the first day of stroke-play qualifying at the weather-plagued 2012 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship being conducted at the par-74, 6,220-yard West Course at Hershey Country Club.
After a suspension due to heavy rain and lightning, play resumed at 4:13 p.m. EDT.
A group of three players – Ellen Port, 50, of St. Louis, Mo., Sydney Wells, 50, of Menominee, Wis., and Diane Lang, 57, of Weston, Fla. – all shot even-par 74 in the morning wave.
Another 66 golfers had afternoon starting times that were adjusted for the weather delay.
The USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday starting at 8:30 a.m.
The USGA Senior Women’s Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Schlesinger, who advanced to last year’s Senior Women’s Amateur semifinals, made five birdies, including three consecutive on the front nine, and had one bogey to take the early lead.
“With six par 5s, I am drooling,” said Schlesinger, who was the stroke-play medalist at this event last year. “I can’t wait to get to the par 5s. Get it in the fairway and I have a really good chance of getting there [in two]. I made a lot of putts.”
Port, a four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, and Wells are both playing in their first Senior Women’s Amateur. Port opened with birdies on the first three holes, before wrapping up with a 10-foot birdie on the par-4 18th. Wells’ round was highlighted by an eagle on the 373-yard, uphill par-5 13th.
“I was just calm,” Port said. “I took the right amount of time on all my swings. You have to take what the course gives you. And that’s what I did. I just stayed positive.”
Lang, who has won three USGA Senior Women’s Amateur championships, also eagled the 13th, but closed with a double-bogey 6 on the 18th.