UPPER ARLINGTON — Mount Vernon’s Maggie Williams knows that two-day golf tournaments are a marathon and not a sprint.
It’s all about who puts together the best 36 hole score and not who has the best start to the tournament. Friday, Williams put herself in a solid position to make a run at the leaders with a six-over-par 76 in the Division I State golf tournament at Ohio State University’s Gray Course.
“It wasn’t my best day, but it wasn’t my worst day either,” Williams said. “I hit my hybrid and five wood a lot off the fairways. It’s a little different. I wasn’t comfortable over the golf ball and the yards I had in (to the greens) was very odd.”
Williams struggled at times hitting her drives and approach shots where she wanted, but she battled through the round, helping herself out with some solid play around the greens. She also had just 31 putts on the round.
“She did not hit the ball as well as she had been hitting it,” said Mount Vernon coach Anthony Savage. “I think she was in a rhythm when we finished the season through sectional and district. But, then she had 10 days off with no competition and it showed in her ball-striking today. Fortunately, she made some putts and had some quality up-and-downs.”
The Mount Vernon senior started the day well, playing even par through five holes. She bogeyed the 166-yard second hole, but bounced back with a birdie on No. 3. Williams then bogeyed the sixth hole and a three-putt, one of the very few slip-ups on the greens, on the eighth hole put her at two-over-par 37 after the front nine.
Williams made a tremendous par on the 10th hole after missing wide right with her iron. She was able to get up and down over a bunker from about 20 yards right of the green.
She couldn’t say the same on the next hole, though, as her tee shot on the par 3 went well right and long. A couple of bad chip shots led to a double bogey.
But, she righted her game with back-to-back pars before bogeying 14 and 16.
That’s when she found her swing, giving herself great birdie chances on 17 and 18. But, her first was fell a few inches short and the final one curled around the hole but remained out.
“I had been fighting, hitting my driver right. Every shot seemed to be a push-cut and not giving me a very easy play,” Williams said. “I tried adjusting mid-round and it worked on some of the holes.”
Her 76 put her in a tie for 15th individually after the first round. She’s seven shots out the lead, which is held by New Albany’s Madison Spiess, who fired a one-under-par 69. Madison Reemsnyder of GlenOak, Grace Hoagland of Lakota East and Amanda Ruminski of Lexington are all tied for second after 70s.
“The last four hole holes, she got back to hitting the fairway and greens and gave herself some looks,” Savage said. “When she does that, she’s definitely one of the best players in the field.
“This is just a great atmosphere here. It’s a great experience and this is where she wants to be.”
Williams will tee off today at 10:50 a.m. on No. 10. Tee times have been pushed back because of frost warnings in the area.
“I have to get used to being on target with all of my clubs. I hit a lot of hybrids into the greens, which were definitely not on target. It was difficult, but I have to keep things going,” Williams said.