Newcastle’s Bailey Plourde, a sophomore at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, wound up sixth in her NCAA Division III Golf Championship Tournament debut after shooting a 6-over-par 78 in the final round on Friday at the Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston,Texas.
She shot a 14-over par 302 over the four-day tournament to wind up six shots behind winner Cordelia Chan, a senior from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in the 131-player field.
Plourde, the first-round leader, began the day in second place, one shot behind front-runner Emily Salamy of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
Plourde was tied for second with Chan, who is from Windsor, Ontario.
Chan shot an even-par 72 to win the tournament by one shot over Arshia Mahant of New York University. Chan finished with an 8-over par 296.
New York University won the team competition.
Plourde played the back nine first again on Friday and had three bogies and six pars over her first nine holes.
Her bogies came on the par-4, 340-yard 10th hole, the par-3 (145 yards) 14th and par-4 (320) 15th hole.
Her front nine featured five bogies and two birdies to go with a pair of pars.
She bogied the first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh holes and birdied the second and fifth.
“I couldn’t get it going on the greens. Obviously, I wanted to do a little better but it was a good showing for the first time,” Plourde said. “It was solid.”
She also called it a valuable “learning experience”.
“It is definitely a grind mentally, emotionally and physically but I now know that I have the game to keep up with the competition and, hopefully, I’ll be back next year and the year after that and prove myself a little more,” said the 19-year-old, who won the 2018 Maine Women’s Amateur championship after finishing as a runner-up to Staci Creech the previous two years.
Plourde, a three-time state high school golf champion at Newcastle’s Lincoln Academy, said friends told her she could contend for the title “but I didn’t believe them”.
“Now I’ve proven to myself that I can,” Plourde added.
She said she drove the ball well all week but it was her putting that was her biggest disappointment.
“My drives were very helpful. I don’t know how many fairways I hit but I hit a fair amount of them. If you don’t hit the fairways here, it can really hurt you,” Plourde said. “I felt like I hit a lot of good shots [overall] but I couldn’t get anything going with my putter. I had a few three-putts that cost me. Putting is what hurt me the most.”
She said there was a lot of rain in Houston so the greens were slow early in the tournament but then dried out the last few days “and they got a lot quicker.”
She called the Bay Oaks Country Club a “beautiful course” and said it was windy, which is something she is used to.
“But the worst part was the humidity,” Plourde said.
She shot a 71 on the first day to take a two-shot lead and it was the lowest round of the week, a distinction she shared with Jillian Drinkard of Methodist University (North Carolina), who carded her 71 on the last day.
Plourde followed her 71 with a 79, 74 and then her 78.
Plourde, a two-time first team All-Southern Athletic Association selection, said she won’t be able to defend her Maine Women’s Amateur championship because she has landed a United States Golf Association internship and will be involved in running junior tournaments in Kentucky all summer.
“It’s going to be more of a practice summer than playing in tournaments. I’ll be home at the end of the summer to spend time with my family before going back to school,” she said.