June 17, 2019
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After a sixth-place finish at NCAA tourney debut, Maine golfer is already preparing for next season

Courtesy photo | BDN
Courtesy photo | BDN
Bailey Plourde of Newcastle shoots out of a bunker during a 2018 amateur tournament in Maine.

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.

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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.

 



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