AMS teacher claims first State Am title
Schmidt’s 2015 was already off to an unforgettable start before this week.
She graduated with her master’s degree just before the new year, landed her dream job as an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Amherst Middle School, was named golf coach at Souhegan High School and just two months ago got engaged.
On Wednesday, Schmidt added a New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association State Amateur championship to her list of personal milestones.
After finishing in second each of the last two years, Schmidt, who golfs out of Candia Woods Golf Links, edged Merrimack native Chelsea Sedlar by two strokes for her first State Am title at Cochecho Country Club, building on what has been a landmark year on and off the course.
"I think it’s a bit surreal right now," Schmidt said. "2015 is my year. Honestly there’s nothing that could go better for me at this point. It’s been amazing."
Schmidt shot a three-over 76 in the final round of the three-day tournament, finishing at 8-over par for a combined 227 score. She was showered with bottled water in celebration after sinking the winning putt on the 18th hole.
Leading the post-round festivities was her younger sister, Colette, who played in the top group with Schmidt on Wednesday.
"I don’t think it’s settled in until the scorecards are done and my name is on the board," Schmidt said. "I’m super excited."
She struggled early in the round with two double-bogeys in the front nine, but shot one under par on the back nine and eagled on the 14th hole.
"I was pretty upset with my first nine," Schmidt said. "The eagle was really big."
Sedlar, who golfs out of Nashua Country Club, shot a 1-over 74 Wednesday to finish 10-over par. Reigning champion Dana Harrity – winner of an unprecedented 16 State Am titles – finished third at 12-over for the week. Tara Watt and Colette Schmidt rounded out the top five with 15-over and 17-over, respectively.
Sedlar was tied with Schmidt for the lead after the first round, but an 81 on Tuesday set her four-strokes back heading into the final round. The 2015 Bishop Guertin graduate was pleased with her bounceback effort on Wednesday.
"I finished great today. I had a good round," she said. "I didn’t want to look at any scoreboards because I knew I was in that top-five range, which is what my goal was. I think that helped me with my game because I can get in my own head if I know where everyone is at. So I just focused on one shot at a time."
Sedlar’s second-place finish is impressive given she didn’t play in last year’s State Am and tied for 17th the year before. She birdied just once on 16, but was steady at par for most of the round with the exception of bogeys on the fourth and 15th holes.
"I came into this year knowing I had the ability to be up there with those big names," she said. "(Coming in second) was a great accomplishment for me."
Sedlar, however, couldn’t match the consistency of Schmidt, who finished atop the leaderboard each of the three days.
Schmidt’s success was especially surprising given the State Am is the only tournament she plays in each year.
"The funny thing is I don’t play much golf anymore," Schmidt said. "I was a collegiate golfer and now I have a real job so I can’t really play that much golf.
"I was excited that I was able to pull it off and the course is really nice and everybody did such a great job. Everybody made it such a nice atmosphere. It was really nice to be playing."
Lauren Erikson of Sky Meadow Country Club finished tied for ninth at plus-23. Nashua Country Club’s Margaret Brenner tied for 13th at plus-30. Diane Doran and Cindy Perkins, both from Souhegan Woods Golf Club, finished in the top 30 as well. Doran tied for 18th at 37-over and Perkins took 29th with a plus- 48 total