Quick Hits from the First Round of Stroke Play September 26, 2015 | NASHVILLE, TENN. By USGA

Deb Mitchell came to Hillwood intending to caddie for her fellow Alaskan, and instead she was added to the field as an alternate. (USGA/Matt Sullivan)

U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Home

The first round of stroke play began at 7:45 a.m. Central Daylight Time this morning at Hillwood Country Club in Nashville. Skies were gray and light mist was coming down, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the early starters as the 54th edition of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship got underway. Here’s a rundown of news and notes to help keep up with the action:

1.       Comings and Goings. Two players withdrew late on the eve of the championship. When this happens, USGA officials go down a list of possible alternates based on a predetermined set of criteria until they find a player who can fill the spot. The first withdrawal, Patty Smogor of Centennial, Colo., was replaced in the field by Deb Mitchell, who was the second alternate in the sectional qualifying round in Anchorage, Alaska. Despite being more than 3,000 miles away from home, Mitchell was already on-site at Hillwood, as she planned to caddie for her friend and fellow Alaskan Toyoko Hawkins. Instead, by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, she teed it up and began her first round at 8:55 a.m. Oddly, the second player to withdraw, Angela Collins of Glendale, Calif., was in that same grouping. She was replaced in the field by Nashville-area resident Lynda Wymberly.

2.       A Little Spot of Rain. Hillwood Country Club is still playing very firm and fast, just as it was in the practice rounds, though it also looks a bit greener. Scattered rain showers and mist began on Friday afternoon and have lingered, dropping roughly one-tenth of an inch at Hillwood. While that’s not enough to drastically change how the course is playing, it does affect green speeds and how the ball behaves from the rough. Look for the players who adjust to the conditions and the slightly nagging presence of a little moisture in the air to be near the top of the first-round leader board.

3.       Course Setup Highlights. For the first round, the competitors are facing a layout of 5,906 yards. Hillwood is a par 72 with five par 3s and five par 5s. Holes 14-18 are particularly testing, as two par 3s mix with two par 5s and a stern, uphill par 4 to finish.

4.       Caddie, Reunited. Terri Frohnmayer of Salem, Ore., wasn’t going to take any chances when deciding who would caddie for her during her return trip to the Volunteer State. Frohnmayer won the 2011 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn., and on her bag this week is employing Bob Lawson, who caddied for her during her victory. Stay tuned to see if the reunited pair can find more magic in this championship.

5.       Fairways and Greens. Hillwood was designed by the late Dick Wilson, who is best known for his work at Doral’s Blue Monster in Miami, Bay Hill in Orlando and Cog Hill #4 in Lemont, Ill. While Hillwood has undergone two renovations, in 2003 and 2011, it retains Wilson’s essential character, which includes wide fairways and large greens. Caryn Wilson, who got off to a good start by making the turn at 2-under 34, predicts that the championship will be a test of iron play and short-game prowess.

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