By Frank Foreman
June 25, 2013 7:00 a.m. CONNEAUT LAKE —
Most golfers would claim that the key to a successful round on the links is simple: Consistency.
In theory, repeating the same drive, swing or putt hole after hole might not seem like a daunting task. But ask any golfer who has ever tried to master the unbeatable game, and they will tell you otherwise.
It’s finding that consistency that can separate a few select golfers from the pack, and that rang true once again Monday at the 51st Annual Oakland Beach Women’s Invitational, where Lori Mort’s first-round score of 80 put her all by herself atop the leaderboard in the Championship Flight after Day 1 of the two-day invitational.
The final round tees off today at 9 a.m.
Mort’s 80 matches her first-round score from a year ago, and puts her in a good spot heading into today’s action. But for the five-time OBWI champion, it’s about the strokes that were left on the course, specifically on the greens.
“The putting today was very difficult. I just didn’t have the feel,” Mort said. “I’m striking the ball well, but I’m not putting well. I just didn’t get a feel for the greens as quickly as I would have liked to.”
While Mort was working on figuring out the greens, past champion Carolyn Thompson took advantage, and sits just one shot off the lead after posting a first-round 81.
“I was lucky because I knew Lori started a bit slow, and then I came on a little bit,” Thompson said. “I would make a move, then Lori would come on a little bit. It was back-and-forth.”
Not unlike Mort, the greens didn’t bring a sigh of relief to Thompson’s game either, as she too struggled to execute in her short game.
“The pin placement and the putting was crazy,” Thompson said. “You couldn’t get the ball close. You really had to be patient and get the ball in the right spot. Just take your three-putt and go.”
Ball placement on the greens was important Monday, especially for Becky Barnes, who saved a handful of strokes simply by taking advantage of her approach shots. It was that accuracy that contributed to Barnes’ 82, keeping her right in the thick of it.
“The greens played tough, but it all depends on where you have the ball positioned,” Barnes said. “Your approach shots need to be accurate.”
Like Mort, Barnes focused more on the shots she didn’t hit than the ones she did. For Barnes, it was the Par 3’s that were giving her fits throughout the day.
“I didn’t execute on the Par 3’s, and that’s what caused a higher score,” Barnes said. “The score should have been lower. As long as I stay consistent and continue to swing the club well, everything should come together.”
Rounding out the top five in the Championship Flight are Marilyn Woods (84) and Gemma Winnen-Peters (87), both within striking distance of Mort.
Sue Homol and Nancy Bohman’s rounds of 88 tie them for the low-round in the AA flight, while Linda Reade’s 85 in the A Flight has her leading the pack as well.
Debbie Garella (98) holds the lead in the B flight, while Cindy Leonard (98) is on top in the C Flight.
Mid-80’s temperatures certainly didn’t help matters for a lot of the golfers Monday, 101 in total, however that didn’t slow down the three low-round shooters of the day, all of whom stated that the weather didn’t factor into their round.
What will factor into today’s round is knowing that the title is only 18 holes away, which means it’s time for adjustments between rounds.
“I had a little bit of trouble adjusting today. I was between clubs a lot,” Thompson said. “My errors were using the wrong clubs.”
For Mort, it’s keeping consistent with what got her here. That, and adjusting to those pesky greens.
“I’m just going to hit it down the middle and putt better,” Mort said. “I missed some good birdie chances. Those three-putts have to go.”