Minnesota Golf Association

Acharya and Aldrich Back on Top at MGA Women's Mid-Amateur

August 30, 2020

 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  DULUTH, Minn. – Playing in the Northland Invitational for nearly 20 years, Betsy Aldrich knows her way around Northland Country Club as she’s claimed medalist honors on four occasions. Aldrich carded a 4-over par 75 Sunday begin the 2020 Minnesota Golf Association Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship with a share of the lead.
 
Despite a bogey on her final hole to close out the first round of play, Aldrich, who earned MGA Women’s Senior Player of the Year honors with her win at the MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship last week, will begin Monday’s final round tied with defending champion Jasi Acharya.
 
“It does not help to be familiar at Northland because it can always reach up and bite you,” Aldrich joked about the fast and firm conditions during the opening round Sunday. “There are so many good younger players, honestly, my goal this week was to finish in the top-10. But anyone can make a big number here—anything can happen.”
 
Aldrich got off to a rocky start Sunday with a pair of bogeys over her first three holes before she sank a 25-footer for birdie at the fourth. Finding a fairway bunker at the sixth led to a double-bogey and Aldrich followed it with a bogey at the seventh to turn in 4-over.
 
Chipping in for birdie at the par-4 13th put Aldrich at 3-over for the day before her putter dropped another lengthy birdie chance at the 14th to move to 2-over. Two bogeys over her final four holes, including a three-putt at the last, put Aldrich into a share of the lead with Acharya at 4-over 75.
 
“Today was pretty steady,” Aldrich said. “I’m really sorry I three-putted the last hole. I hit a bad drive, so it was a miracle I was on the green.”
 
Earlier this season, Aldrich claimed her third straight Women’s Senior Amateur Match Play Championship with a victory over Leigh Klasse at Pebble Creek Golf Club. Playing at her home course at Woodhill Country Club during the MGA Women's Senior Amateur Championship two weeks ago, Aldrich carded a final-round 78 to finish second behind Adele Peterson.
 
Teaming up with Barb Miller at last week’s MGA Women’s Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship, Aldrich and Miller survived a four-hole playoff against Claudia Pilot and Brenda Williams to give Miller her second career state victory, and Aldrich her second win of the season to wrap up her first player of the year award, putting an end to Klasse’s 10-year winning streak.
 
“I wish Leigh was here because she would be very tough to beat, but I’m very excited,” Aldrich said Sunday. “It was a shame not to win the [Women’s Senior Amateur] at my home course because it would’ve been fun to do all three. I’m very pleased with my season.”
 
Acharya, the defending MGA Women’s Player of the Year, claimed three top-3 finishes in 2019, including her win at the rain-shortened Women’s Mid-Amateur at Bearpath Golf and Country Club, where she shot a 1-over 74 to edge Aldrich by one stroke.
 
“It was a bit challenging out there today, but this golf course is super fun, though,” Acharya said Sunday. “Throw in the wind out there and how firm the conditions are—you could be pretty creative on some shots and you had to strategically think your way around because you could throw up a big number pretty easily.
 
“I had a bunch of chances coming down the last five or six holes and couldn’t get those to go, but overall, I’m pretty pleased.”
 
Acharya got her round started by tapping in for birdie at the par-4 fourth hole, but would card four bogeys over her next six holes. At the par-5 ninth, the former University of Montana golfer lagged to inside of five feet and rolled in her birdie chance to turn in 2-over. She would card a pair of bogeys over the final nine to finish in a tie atop the leaderboard at 4-over 75.
 
“I thought I managed the course pretty well. There was one hole where I didn’t do my homework enough yesterday because I hit a club I probably shouldn’t have hit and it got me into a hazard. I feel like I thought my way around the course pretty well and I putted well, I just didn’t make anything.”
 
Oliva Herrick, winner of three Women’s Mid-Amateur championships, posted a 7-over par 78 Monday and will begin Tuesday’s final round in third place, three shots off the lead, while former University of Minnesota golfer Paige McCullough sits in fourth place after her round of 79.
 
Cherie Riesenberg carded a 16-over 87 Sunday to take the opening-round lead over Molly Baker in the First Flight. Riesenberg will begin the final round one shot clear of Baker and two shots ahead of Sue Ritter, who sits in third place following her round of 90.  
 
The 2020 MGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship concludes Monday, with final-round tee times beginning at 9 a.m. at Northland Country Club.


 


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