Pilot, Peterson Tied for Lead after 1st Round of Women's Sr. Am

August 17, 2020 | 7 min.

WAYZATA -- Woodhill Country Club is not that far off the beaten path. It's in a semi-secluded spot in Wayzata, but it's not that hard to get to. Just take Highway 12 west to County Road 15 (Shoreline Drive) and turn right (north) on Woodhill Road. But don't make any wrong turns along the way. That was what happened to Jon Roe, the former golf writer for the Minneapolis Tribune on Monday morning. He was on his way to Woodhill to serve as a volunteer marshall for the MGA Women's Senior Amateur Championship when he somehow got off onto a wrong road. 

"Then I ran into road construction," he lamented, "and the next thing I knew, I was in Orono."

He didn't get to the course as early as he was planning to be there, but he made it in time, a few minutes before the first players went off the first tee, and he was able to put in a full shift.

Playing Woodhill is kind of like trying to get there. If you know where you're going and you stay on right path, you'll be fine. But if you stray a little bit, you can get into all sorts of trouble -- and wind up with some big numbers on your scorecard.

The course was designed the legendary golf architect Donald Ross, completed in 1917 and has been confounding golfers ever since.

When the men's State Amateur was played there in 1975, the winning score by Steve Johnson was one of the highest of the modern era (5 over par). The same thing happened when the Senior Men's Amateur was played at Woodhill in 2008. Leif Carlson was 8 over par after 54 holes -- and he won by four shots!

The Ross creation had a similar effect on the senior women Monday. No player in the field got through the round without making a double bogey or worse, and no one broke 80.

Claudia Pilot, a six-time MGA Women's Player of the Year and two-time Senior Women's Player of the Year, handled the back nine better than anyone else. She parred the 10th through 14th holes and was 5 over for the day with four to go. But she bogeyed the 446-yard, par-5 14th hole and followed that with a double on the 378-yard, par-4 15th, before finishing her round with three consecutive pars to shoot 80 (41-39).

As a result, she's tied for the lead with Adele Peterson going into Tuesday's final round.

"We've been moving," Pilot said, "and that's taken up a lot of my time. So I haven't played very much, and haven't really played in any tournaments. I played OK today, at least from tee to green, but I had so many three-putts I couldn't believe it."   

Peterson was a first-team All-American at Tulsa in 1986. She turned professional that year and played on the LPGA Tour for a few years, finishing 15th in the U.S. Women's Open in 1991.

On Monday, she bogeyed the par-3 second hole (131 yards), but got back to even par with a birdie at the par-5 sixth (434).
She bogeyed the two remaining par-4's on the front nine, the 326-yard seventh and the 342-yard ninth, but parred the 10th and 11th holes and was 2 over going to the par-5 12th (479 yards). That was when she took a wrong turn and wound up going 6 over on the next five holes, including a double bogey at the 150-yard, par-3 13th, on her way to 80.

That was a familiar tale. When players got on the bogey train, they had a hard time getting off, especially on the back nine. 

Brenda Williams also had a 6-over-for-five-holes stretch, starting at No. 11 and stretching to No. 15. But she gained some measure of redemption by making birdies at the 155-yard, par-3 16th and the 310-yard, par-4 18th.

"Those were good ones," she said. "But there were a lot of bad ones out there before that." 

The two late birdies left her one shot out of first at 81, where she is tied for third with Cathy White. 

White's run of bogeys went from 13 through 16. Despite that, she could have taken the Day 1 lead with a par at the 18th, but she made a double instead.

If there was a favorite going into the tournament, it was probably Betsy Aldrich. She won the MGA Women's Senior Match Play Championship for the third consecutive year earlier this summer, and she's playing this week on her home course. She was going along nicely on the front nine, a bogey at No. 2 being the only blemish on her scorecard through the first six holes. But then she made a triple-bogey 7 at the 326-yard seventh.

A bogey at the eighth (185 yards, par 3) didn't make her feel any better, but she birdied the ninth and started the back nine with two pars, at which point she was only 4 over. That was when she got on the bogey train, and she didn't get off until the 18th hole. She ended up with an 82 and is in fifth place.

The player Aldrich beat to win the Women's Senior Match Play again this year was Leigh Klasse, and she's the most notable absentee this week. Klasse has played in 10 Women's Senior Ams -- and won a record nine of them, including the last four in a row. She broke Nancy Harris's record of eight Women's Senior Am titles with her victory last year. The only time she didn't win was 2015, when she lost to Williams in a three-hole playoff at Elk River. 

Klasse is missing because she's recovering from knee replacement surgery, which she underwent in July, and which went well, according to what she has told friends. 

Players in the Championship Flight went off early Monday, but they will be going late on Tuesday. The final group of Pilot, Peterson and Williams is scheduled to tee off at 2:50 p.m.

MGA Women's Senior Amateur Championship

At Woodhill Country Club

5,722 yards, par 72


First-round results

Championship Flight

T1. Claudia Pilot, Grand View Lodge           80

T1. Adele Peterson, Bearpath G&CC           80

T3. Brenda Williams, Windsong Farm          81

T3. Cathy White, Royal GC                          81

5. Betsy Aldrich, Woodhill CC                       82

T6. Lisa Lawry, Forest Hills GC                     85

T6. Trish Olsen, Forest Hills GC                    85

T8. Terry Henschel, Valleywood GC              87

T8. Barb Miller, Dellwood CC                         87

10. Lynn Anderson, Braemar GC                   88

First Flight 

1. Cherie Riesenberg, Minneapolis GC          84

2. Sheryl Raithel, Keller GC                            85

3. Colleen Boerboom, Minnewaska GC          87

Second Flight

1. Linda Holzemer, Hastings GC                     89

T2. Ede Rice, Woodhill CC                              90

T2. Lynn Cunningham, Rum River Hills GC    90

Third Flight 

1. Mary Butkovich, Forest Hills GC                  93

Fourth Flight   

1. Doreen Eddy, Highland National GC            96

Fifth Flight

T1. Brenda Ashmore, Pebble Creek GC         105

T1. Carole Dietz, Cloquet GC                          105

T1. Mary Klis, Wapecada GC                          105

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