Davison Leads After First Round of U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur October 3, 2015 | Choudrant, La. By Joey Flyntz, USGA

Sarah Davison, who lives on the 17th hole at Squire Creek Country Club, had the low score during Round 1 of stroke play on Saturday. (USGA/Matt Sullivan)

U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Home

Sarah Davison, a member at Squire Creek Country Club, the host site of the 29th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, shot even-par 72 on the 6,061-yard layout to lead after Saturday’s first round of stroke play.

Fellow Louisiana native Ashley Tonore, 38, of Monroe, and Casey Ward, 25, of Canada, are two strokes behind Davison.

Davison, 35, lives adjacent to the 17th hole of Squire Creek in Choudrant, but got off to a little bit of a slow start, sitting 3 over after 12 holes. Finishing her round on the outward nine, she found her putting stroke with a 35-foot birdie putt on the par-4 fourth hole. She followed with a birdie on the par-3 fifth and finished her round with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 ninth.

“It was a little slow start – windy, cold. I just tried to make pars on that portion of the golf course, and get through that knowing the sun would come out and warm up,” said Davison, a three-time All American at the University of Alabama under her maiden name of Johnston. “I got my putter working on the middle of my back nine, which always helps out here.”

Tonore, a Louisiana State University graduate and LPGA Tour player under her maiden name of Winn, is playing in her first competitive event since her amateur status was reinstated in 2006. After starting at No. 10 and carding a 3-over start through seven holes, she played her final 11 at 1 under with birdies on 17 and 7. 

Ashley Tonore, from nearby Monroe, La., is tied for second through Round 1 after posting a 2-over 74 on Saturday. (USGA/Matt Sullivan) 

“I told myself before I started out just be patient,” said Tonore, the former head women’s golf coach at the University of Louisiana-Monroe who now works in pharmaceutical sales for Eli Lilly. “There’s going to be some bogeys here or there and you’ve got to accept that. If I can keep the big numbers and sneak a couple birdies in, then I felt like it could be a solid round. That’s how it went today, luckily.”

Ward, competing in her first USGA championship, struggled on the greens at times, but balanced it with four birdies.

“I just kind of kept plugging along. I'm pleasantly surprised I did as well as I did, to be honest,” said Ward, the 2015 Ontario Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. “I had some three-putts out there, but for the most part I was able to move on from those.”

A quartet of players shot 3-over 75, including defending champion Margaret Shirley, 29, of Roswell, Ga. Sherry Wright, 48, of Chula Vista, Calif., capped her first USGA championship round with an eagle on the par-4 18th, sinking a 5-iron from 167 yards. Julie Massa, 52, of Holt, Mich., and Stacy Dennis, 42, of Addison, Texas, also shot 75.

The third Louisiana native in the field, Kay Daniel, 44, of Covington, shot 5-over 77 and four-time Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 37, of Oakland Park, Fla., shot 6-over 78. Former Women’s Mid-Amateur champions Martha Leach (2009) and Julia Potter (2013) shot 79 and 80, respectively.

Play resumes at 8 a.m. CDT on Sunday for the second round of stroke play, after which the field will be cut to 64 for match play, beginning on Monday.

The 2015 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship is open to female amateur golfers with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 9.4. It 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, Oct. 8.

The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship is one of 13 national championship conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at jflyntz@usga.org.

More from the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur