USGA WOMEN'S STATE TEAM
Florida Sets 36-Hole Scoring Record to Maintain Lead September 11, 2015 | Cape Girardeau, Mo. By Vanessa Zink, USGA

Florida's Meghan Stasi fired a second consecutive 71 on Friday, helping her squad to a two-stroke lead heading into the final round. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Women's State Team Home

Florida’s 5-under-par 283 set the championship team scoring record by two strokes during Friday’s second round of the 2015 USGA Women’s State Team Championship, being conducted on the par-72, 6,203-yard Dalhousie Golf Club course.

Four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 37, of Oakland Park, led the Florida charge with a 1-under 71. Kendall Griffin, 16, of Sebring, added a 2-over 74 in the 3-count-2 format. After carding a field-leading 67 in the first round, Tara Joy-Connelly, 42, of Palm Beach Gardens, added a non-counting 75.

All three Florida players counted bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9, with Griffin carding a double bogey on the ninth hole, something Joy-Connelly, a reinstated amateur, noted as an area in which the team would like to improve heading into the final.

“I’m really proud of our team, but we all wasted shots on the last two holes, so tomorrow we think we’ll play even stronger than that – buckle down and play 17 and 18 like we know we can.”

Georgia sits just two strokes behind with a 3-under 285, which tied the previous best 36-hole championship team scoring record, which was ironically set by Georgia when it won its first of three Women’s State Team titles in 2005. Atlanta’s Emily Meason, 24, and reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Margaret Shirley, 29, each contributed 1-over 73s. Lauren Lightfritz, 17, of Suwanee, returned a non-scoring 81.

“I felt the hole locations were a little bit harder today, especially 8 and 9, which were tucked,” said Shirley, who carded four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey on Friday. “Also, the wind picked up, and it rained for five or six holes for us. So, a little bit tougher conditions. Overall though, we feel like we’re in a good position and are looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”

Players and officials shared a moment of silence prior to the start of play Friday to remember those lost on September 11, 2001. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Alabama, New Mexico and Virginia are tied for third at 5-over 293. Alabama was buoyed by a round-leading 2-under 70 from 13-year-old Michaela Morard, of Huntsville. Shannon Johnson, 32, of Foxborough, Mass., also carded a 70, helping Massachusetts to a 6-over 294 for a share of sixth place with Michigan.

The cut came at 16-over-par 304, with 21 of the 50 teams, including home team Missouri, which made it on the number in 21st place, scheduled to complete the final 18 holes. This is the first year the championship has had a pre-planned 36-hole cut. There was a cut in 2013 due to a high threat for inclement weather during the afternoon of the third round.

“To have missed by one would have been so tough, but we made it by one, so we’re moving on,” said an enthusiastic and relieved Catherine Dolan, 25, of Ballwin, Mo., who contributed a 6-over 78 in Friday’s round. “I think being in our home state made us want this even more.”

Johnson and Dominque Galloway, 17, of Rio Rancho, N.M., share the 36-hole individual lead at 3-under 141. Other players under par after the second round are: Stasi, Joy-Connelly and Meason at 2-under 142, and Shirley at 1-under 143. Kate Harper, 27, of Portland, Ore., finished with an even-par 144, good enough to make the final round despite her team missing the cut by one stroke with a 17-over 305.

“This course is in perfect shape, and it really fits my eye well,” said Galloway, who has carded eight birdies and an eagle throughout 36 holes. “I really like the greens, because the most important part of the game is putting, so I really, really enjoy putting on these greens.”

Sarah Hoffman, 25, of Saline, Mich., recorded the championship’s third hole-in-one, on Friday, sinking her ace on the 147-yard, par-3 fifth hole. On Thursday, Amanda Jacobs, 27, of Seattle, Wash., also aced No. 5, while Abby Black, 42, of Meridian, Idaho, holed out on the 133-yard, par-3 11th hole.

The United States Golf Association conducts the USGA Women’s State Team Championship on a biennial basis. It is open to teams of three players from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This year’s field features teams from 49 states and the District of Columbia – Vermont and Puerto Rico are not represented.

The championship features 18 holes of stroke play over three days, with the two lowest scores of the three individuals counting as the team’s score for the round. The team with the lowest aggregate score through 54 holes, ending Saturday, is the champion. If there is a tie after the final round, the score from the team’s non-scoring player will be used to break the deadlock. If the score remains tied, the second-round score from the non-scoring player will be used.

Vanessa Zink is an assistant manager of Championship Communications for the USGA. Email her at vzink@usga.org.