Emmie Pietila of Brighton maintained her lead at the Michigan Womens’ Open, following her opening 64 with a 2-over-74 for a 138. That was good for a one-shot lead over Sara Hoffman of Saline.
Pietila, a University of Tennessee golfer and Hoffman, a nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital both are amateurs. Hoffman shot a 73.
Caroline Powers, a former Michigan State star now playing professionally, shot 68 to settle at 141, just three shots off the lead. Her 68 and a 66 by Alliance, Ohio, pro Mary Snode were the only sub-70 rounds on a day with wind and falling temperatures.
Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City, who shot 74 with a lost-ball double-bogey 7 on No. 18, was tied with Powers at 141, as was pro Ally McDonald of Fulton, Miss., who shot 72.
Just seven golfers remain under par from the field of 114, which was cut to 70 players at 158. The final 18 holes in the $42,000 championship is Wednesday with the winning pro netting $6,000. Pietila and Hoffman are amateurs, and the tournament has been won just once by an amateur in 21 years (Breanne Hall of Kentwood 2003).
Pietila said she was excited about the opportunity to win the Michigan Open.
“I’ve been in this position before, and I want to be here, this is why I play,” she said. “I didn’t hit the ball as well as I would have liked to today. I didn’t give myself as many birdie opportunities, but the course played longer, there were more back pins it felt like and obviously the weather was cold and windy.”
She said sleeping Monday night didn’t come easy after her 64, a personal best by five shots.
“It was hard to sleep on that, and then have an afternoon tee time,” she said. “I’m ok with it though. The entire course was tougher today.”
Hoffman said she had a tough finish with consecutive bogeys at Nos. 15, 16 and 17, but said it could have been worse.
“I hit a once-in-a-lifetime punch shot from the woods to save a bogey on 15, had a bad lie on 16 just off the fairway and didn’t get up and down and then made a wrong club choice on 17, missed the green and didn’t get up and down,” she said. “What it came down to is I missed 10-footers at 16 and 17 to save par, and I had been making those. It was a tough day, ridiculously cold and windy, just a completely different day today. It was much tougher than yesterday. I didn’t hit the ball as well, but I thought I got the best score out of my round that I could.”
Defending champion Becca Huffer of Littleton, Colo., had a tough back nine to shoot 81 and fall out of contention. Whitehall’s Laura Kueny, a Symetra Tour pro and past champion, shot 75 for 146, eight shots back.
The Michigan PGA Section, which administers the championship, will have a two-tee start off Nos. 1 and 10 Wednesday. The lead group will go off No. 1 at 9:39 a.m. The public is welcome free of charge. For more information visit www.michiganpgagolf.com. For more information about Crystal Mountain visit www.crystalmountain.com.