Sedlar in lead at Women’s State Amateur

Editor’s note: The New Hampshire Women’s Amateur golf championship was scheduled to conclude Wednesday, but results were not available by Cabinet press time.

GRANTHAM – Beth Hamilton and Dana Harrity did some good things on the golf course Tuesday, and their scores at Eastman Golf Links reflected it.

One thing they weren’t able to do was reel leader Chelsea Sedlar in closer, and that will become an even tougher task during the final round of the New Hampshire Women’s Amateur golf championship on Wednesday.

“She’s a great front-runner,” said Harrity, the 16-time champion from Abenaqui CC. “I found that out last year. She does not succumb to the pressure.”

The collegian defending champion from Merrimack and Nashua CC shot the best round of the week so far – a 5-over par 75 – and will take a four-shot into Wednesday’s final round. The final threesome of Sedlar (76-75), Hamilton (78-77) and Harrity (81-76) is scheduled to tee off at 9:40 a.m.

Souhegan golf coach Lisanne Schmidt, who won the event in 2015, entered the final round in fifth place at 21-over and 10 shots off the lead.

Sedlar, who will be a junior at Division I Sacred Heart, where she plays on the golf team, is attempting to become the first back-to-back champion in this event since Harrity won in 1997 and ’98, and is in a position of strength to do it.

“She can play her game,” said Hamilton. “I’m going to have to make birdies.”

Opening another sunny day at Eastman with a two-shot lead, Sedlar fell behind when Hamilton, a Canterbury Woods CC member who grew up in Somersworth, birdied No. 4 while she was absorbing double-bogey after driving into the trees.

After nine holes, Hamilton led by one and Harrity, playing a group ahead, was back in the mix, within three, after playing the front nine even.

“It’s not something you like to see, being passed on the leaderboard,” said Sedlar. “It forced me to take a mental step back and focus on my own game.”

A birdie on the 9th hole set up a cleaner back nine for Sedlar, who made seven pars and two birdies as her top challengers struggled. “I was able to kind of pull it together,” she said. “Fairways, greens and two-putts.”

Hamilton, the oldest member of the final group, which also included past champion Tara Watt of Derryfield CC (78-82), made a double-bogey on the par-4 11th to give up the lead and made some bogeys coming in.

“I was playing with some kids today,” she said. “Chelsea was 60 yards past me when she was hitting the driver. I just had to put the ball in the hole, my style.”

Hamilton last played in the final group on the final day in 2009 at North Conway CC, when collegian Megan Mangone pulled away to win.

Harrity, who’s won this tournament more times than anyone, shaved five strokes off her opening round but lamented the shots she left on the course, mostly on the greens. She said she three-putted four times.

“I hit it so good today it was ridiculous,” she said. “I should have shot 72.”

Three of her three-putts came on the back side – on holes 10, 13 and 14 – and kept her from from getting closer to the lead than just six.

“If somebody were within two of her, it would be different,” said Harrity.

But after two days in the western New Hampshire hills, the tournament rests in the long-hitting Sedlar’s hands. It will take a special round to overtake her and also some help, likely.

“I’ve been in this position a number of times and I’m comfortable with it,” she said. “I don’t have to go out and press for birdies. I can stay relaxed, swing easy and make pars, and that’s what I’m looking to do (Wednesday).”