BROCKTON, Mass., May 27, 2016 - Natalie Sheary (West Hartford, Connecticut) stole the spotlight on Friday with a Thorny Lea Golf Club competitive course-record 9-under 62 to grab the first-round lead at the W.B. Mason Championship by five shots. Sheary made two eagles and five birdies during her bogey-free masterpiece. There are five players tied for second at 4-under, 67.
Sheary set her own personal low and came within one shot of tying the 36-year-old Symetra Tour 18-hole scoring record of 10-under.
“It was just a super cool day and to top it off I had my dad on the bag,” said the 26-year-old Sheary. “I had been striking the ball well so it was just a matter of time and it was nice to do it in front of my dad and so close to home.”
Sheary started out on fire with a birdie on one and a chip-in eagle on the second. She made back-to-back birdies to make the turn at 5-under. She then holed out for eagle on the par-4 tenth and made birdie on 11 and 13 to move to 9-under after 13 holes. Sheary had her chances to go even lower, but made five pars to end her round. Sheary made a really impressive par save on 17 to keep her clean scorecard intact.
Sheary was 3-under on the three par-5 holes on the day. She holed out from 136-yards by hitting a punch 8-iron on 10. She attempted just 22 putts and hit 13 of 14 fairways.
“To eagle two was a really good start,” said Sheary. “I was hitting knock down shots all day and on 10 I was saying to my dad ‘god, I’ve been hitting knock downs all day’ and I was in between clubs and he was just like ‘deal with it’ so I did and I holed out.”
Sheary was at ease with her father, Michael, on the bag.
“I felt like it was just back in the day with me and my dad going out for a round of golf,” said Sheary. “My dad is my biggest supporter and he has not been out yet this year. It was cool to have him on the bag. I’ve been telling him that I have been swinging well and hitting it well, but to be able to show him today was something special.”
Sheary is having one of her better years on Tour. She has two top 20 results including a tie for fifth at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay and a tie for 13th at the Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy® Classic last week.
“I’ve been close in a few events so it would nice to capitalize,” said Sheary. “Especially since I am so close to home and my family is here it would be nice to continue to play well.”
Sheary has nine career top 10 finishes, but no wins. Her best finish on the money list is 35th back in 2011. She currently ranks 34th on the money list and a win would likely move her into the top 10.
Sheary had conditional LPGA Tour status in 2014 and 2015 and made a total of nine starts.
WORLD TRAVELER ARTIS CARDS 67: Rebecca Artis is a world traveler of sorts. She played the last two weeks in Morocco and China on the Ladies European Tour and now she is in the states playing a few weeks on the Symetra Tour. Artis posted a 4-under 67 on day one.
“I don’t think my body knows what time zone it is in, but that is just part and parcel for playing golf worldwide,” said Artis, who won the Scottish Open in 2015. “I’m playing out here for a couple weeks and then headed to Europe to play in Prague.”
Artis said she didn’t hit her irons great, but still posted five birdies against just one bogey.
“It was a little scrappy at times,” said Artis. “I just played the par-5 holes well and I hit my driver well. I hit every par-5 in two and had an eagle putt on each. I think the keys around the course are to keep it in play off the tee and play the par fives well.”
Artis is the fourth highest ranked Australian player. She has a great chance to qualify for the International Crown, which takes place July 22-24 in Chicago.
SEALY PROUD TO SEE TRINIDAD & TABAGO FLAG ON SITE: Last week in Milton, Georgia, Monifa Sealy of Trinidad & Tobago didn’t see her country flag around the green until the final day. The Tour operations staff had to make a specialty order at the last minute when she got in the field.
“It makes me feel great to see the flag, it makes me feel a part of this now,” said Sealy, who played college golf at the University of Central Florida. “I would like to put Trinidad & Tobago on the map. The country gets noticed for other sports like cricket and track & field so I just feel like doing this and being a female shows other girls that we can play other things and do other things. I really want to make a name for our country.”
Sealy carded a 1-under 70 on Friday.
“I started off really well, hitting the greens and making a lot of putts,” said Sealy, who missed the cut last week in her Tour debut. “The course is really suited to my game with a lot of draw holes.”
Two days ago, Sealy changed her putting grip. She was actually warming up on the green before her tee time not sure if she was going to go with the new grip.
Sealy attempted 28 putts so it seems like the new grip is here to stay.
ELLEN DAVIES-GRAHAM POSTS A 68: Ellen Davies-Graham (Brisbane, Australia) had the best round of her 2016 season.
“I really putted well and I haven’t putted well the last two weeks,” said Davies-Graham, who missed the cut the last two weeks. “I holed a lot more 10-15 footers and I only hit five fairways so definitely had the flatstick working today. If I got it on the green, I barely had anything that wasn’t makeable.”
Davies-Graham said the putter has been cold all season, even at the start in Australia.
“I’ve been having too many three-putts and not making enough from six-feet and in,” said Davies-Graham. “Even in the Aussie season, I got off to slow starts most of the time so it was always a matter of playing catch up so this is nice.”
- 14 players shot a 3-under 69 or better and 41 players finished under-par.
- Marissa Steen is once again in contention after a 4-under 67. She ranks 7th on the money list and has finished inside the top 16 in all seven events.
- Travel buddies Michelle Piyapattra and Luciane Lee both posted 3-under 68’s.
- • Quincy native Jacquelyn Eleey posted a 3-over 74 with bogeys on five of the final seven holes.