Schlesinger Fires 68 In Qualifying September 10, 2011 By Rhonda Glenn, USGA

Lisa Schlesinger had two holes to play when the championship was called due to darkness Saturday. (Fred Vuich/USGA)

 Chattanooga, Tenn. - Lisa Schlesinger, 53, of Laytonsville, Md., finished her first round early this morning with a par and a bogey to shoot a 4-under-par 68 and take a two-stroke lead after the first round of stroke-play qualifying. 

Schlesinger had two holes remaining when play was suspended on Saturday because of darkness. Having started on the second nine, she went to the par-3 eighth hole at 8 a.m. Sunday and hit her first shot of the day into a greenside bunker. When she saved a par, she was five under par with one hole to play. On the 330-yard, par-4 ninth, however, she hit her second shot 60 feet past the hole. Three putts later she was in with a 68, her lowest score in competition and a course record from the women’s championship tees. 

It feels like I’ve made a hurdle, Schlesinger said. I’m more confident in my game. I don’t worry about anything. 

Schlesinger’s 68 gave her a two-stroke lead over Mary Ann Hayward of Canada. Hayward shot a 2-under-par 70 in the opening round. 

Schlesinger, who works in her family’s real estate and property management business, beat her best round in competition, a 70 in 2010 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur qualifying. The 2008 and 2009 Maryland Women’s Mid-Amateur champion has never advanced beyond the third round in a USGA championship. An all-around athlete, she was inducted into the Greater Washington D.C. Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame in 1996. 

Schlesinger had four birdies on her opening nine Saturday and birdied the second and third holes after making the turn. She bogeyed the seventh hole when she said she rushed because of descending darkness. 

Following her record round, Schlesinger lounged near the practice tee for an hour before teeing off in Sunday’s second round. 

It makes you feel good knowing you played a good round, she said. With golf, you never know. You just hope you can come out and hit the ball well and make some putts. It’s a crazy game. It plays with your head.    

Rhonda Glenn is a USGA manager of communications. E-mail her with questions or comments at rglenn@usga.org.