MANCHESTER, Maine — Alexa Rancourt was once again pounding the ball with her driver Tuesday, and hitting green after green.
Problem was, once again, she found her putter a tad inconsistent.
But that didn’t stop the 18-year old South Portland golfer from shooting an even-par 72 during the second round of the WMSGA championship, ballooning what had been a two-shot lead after one round to a 13-stroke cushion over Kristen Kannegieser of Martindale Country Club.
Kannegieser shot an 83 and is alone in second while the Waterville Country Club’s Debby Gardner fired a 78 to move into sole position of third place at 158.
Ann Probert, also of Waterville CC, shot an 80 for a two-day total of 159 while Kathi O’Grady of Sable Oaks rounds out the top five at 163.
Rancourt, Kannegieser and Gardner will tee off at 11:42 in today’s 18-hole finale.
Rancourt started strongly, hitting every fairway and green on the front nine en route to a 3-under 33 that could have been a stroke or two lower.
“I made a couple putts on the front side but my putter wasn’t really top-notch throughout the entire round at all,” said Rancourt, who recorded consecutive birdies on the par-4 third hole and par-5 fourth and then knocked her tee shot to inside 10 feet on the par 3 seventh en route to another birdie.
She moved to 4-under on the afternoon with a birdie on the par 5 13th, sticking an 8-iron to within nine feet of the cup before her eagle putt barely missed rimming in.
“It rolled over the edge and I thought it was going to drop and it just kept rolling,” Rancourt said.
Rancourt ran into some trouble on the par 4 14th, hitting her approach into a greenside bunker and then leaving her bunker shot just shy of the green.
After chipping on, she two-putted for double-bogey and than bogeyed two of her next three holes.
Not that she got discouraged.
“I kind of take it one shot at a time so it’s not really like I went out and lost a lead because I am going to have bogeys in there,” Rancourt said.
Rancourt didn’t blame the double-bogey on 14 on the putter, even though her bogey offer spun out.
“It was really my approach shot that was the bad shot, I really mis-hit that shot,” she said.
The course was still playing soft thanks to heavy thunderstorms Monday night that soaked the fairways.
“I got zero roll on any of my tee shots,” Rancourt said. “It was all carry.”
Rancourt also credited the work of her caddy, Roger Densmore III, the club pro at Sable Oaks.
“He does a really good job of support,” said Rancourt, who has family ties to the Bangor area. Cousins Courtney and Miranda are both former Brewer High School athletes — Courtney a football standout and Miranda a track and field competitor.
Rancourt is arguably the longest hitter in the tournament, smashing drives in the 250-yard range and longer while also keeping them in the fairway, something most long hitters tend to struggle with.
“She has tremendous length, tremendous accuracy, I think she has wonderful potential … and she goes right at the flag,” said Probert, who has played in Rancourt’s group the first two rounds.