Quick Hits from the Second Round of Stroke Play September 27, 2015 | NASHVILLE, TENN. By USGA

Tied for second after the first round with a 73, Mary Ann Hayward is one of seven Canadians playing well at Hillwood Country Club. (USGA/Matt Sullivan) 

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The cloudy skies that have hung around Hillwood Country Club since Friday afternoon are expected to break a bit this afternoon as the second round continues, and at the same time we’ll get a clearer picture of how things stand as the action shifts to match play beginning on Monday. Here’s a rundown of quick news and notes to help keep up with the second-round action:

1.       Magic Number = 64. Today is cut day in the championship, as the starting field of 132 will be reduced to the low 64 who advance to the first round of match play. Very rarely in USGA championships are those 64 identified without a playoff being necessary – though the last two U.S. Senior Women’s Amateurs have ended stroke play with exactly 64 players inside the cut line and no playoff required. Still, keep an eye on scoring as the round moves toward the late afternoon to see who’s in, who’s out and who might have to play some extra golf to garner one of the final spots.

2.       Par is Your Friend. The first-round scoring average was 82.47, and first-round leader Ginny Burkey was the only player to equal par for 18 holes. While Hillwood offers wide fairways, its difficult green complexes are proving to be a test for the field. Caryn Wilson, who shot a 2-over 74 in the first round, reported that she hit 17 of 18 greens and that most of her five bogeys were result of three-putts. The practice putting green at Hillwood has been a busy place as players try to get a feel for the speed and contours of the putting surfaces.  

3.       Oh, Canada. Our neighbors to the north have become a force in amateur golf over the last decade, particularly because of Golf Canada’s national teams and the resources they provide to identify and develop young talent. The effect is rubbing off at the senior ranks. Led by Mary Ann Hayward (73), all seven Canadians in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur field are in the mix to be among the low 64 scorers and advance to match play. Judith Kyrinis, last year’s runner-up, came very close to becoming the first Canadian winner of this championship since Marlene Streit in 2003. Hayward, who is the manager of sport performance for the Golf Association of Ontario, was the last Canadian to win a USGA championship when she captured the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.

4.       Course Setup Highlights. USGA officials set up Hillwood today at 5,886 yards, 20 yards shorter than yesterday’s first round. The most notable change was the decision to move the tee up on the par-4 ninth hole, which plays steeply uphill. After playing 347 yards yesterday, the hole is measured at an inviting 316 yards today.

5.       Watch Out for No. 3. The most difficult hole at Hillwood so far has been the par-5 third, which played to 528 yards in the first round and is even longer today, at 545 yards. The tee shot is demanding, as fairway bunkers guard both sides and the high lips on those bunkers result in a stiff penalty for the players who drive into them. The second shot is played uphill to a plateau, and from there players must gauge their approach shot distance carefully to the green complex below them. Only two birdies were made at this hole in the first round, one of them by two-time U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Ellen Port. 

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