Trio representing Furman University compete in Augusta National Women’s Amateur
Haylee Harford said she hadn’t felt as nervous as she did teeing off Wednesday in the first round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in a long time.
Understandably, as she was one 72 women who competed in the tournament’s inaugural year. Being a part of history brought out her nerves, but they soon faded. Then it was back to playing her game and, after the conclusion of the first round, Harford shot 1-over 73 and is tied for 21st.
For Harford, this tournament isn’t the first time she’s been to Champions Retreat Golf Club. Harford and Natalie Srinivasan, a Furman University teammate and fellow tournament competitor, traveled to the course a few weeks ago to familiarize themselves with how the course plays.
“I think it was definitely beneficial to be able to see the layout of the course and stuff,” said Harford, a senior at Furman. “When we played it, it was really wet so I think it played a lot different, kind of like (Tuesday’s) practice round. It was cold and I think the course played a lot longer.”
Wednesday was warm and drier on the course, which provided a different feel. But Harford said today’s round played more to her advantage than the cooler temperatures.
“I think today the course played a lot shorter, which I felt better about. So yeah, I’m pretty happy with how I played today and hopefully can continue to improve tomorrow. I think it took a little bit of an adjustment just to see the landing areas and kind of adjust where you wanted to hit the ball out there because it was traveling further and rolling out more,” Harford continued. “So I think I had to pay attention to my yardage book a little bit to see where to go.”
Srinivasan, a junior at Furman, is also at 1-over 73 after the first round. Like Harford, she’s enjoying the opportunity to play in the tournament and hoping she can continue to move up in Thursday’s round.
“The course was tough. I think I left a few shots out there as always, but I’m just going to work on a few things. I think I can do better and (we’ll) see what tomorrow holds,” Srinivasan said.
The course played a little different for her as well from the practice round Tuesday.
“I think it was shorter than the practice round because of the weather difference being warmer and when I played a couple of weeks ago, it was really long,” Srinivasan said. “So it was nice to see a little bit shorter clubs and that helped.”
Srinivasan had three birdies on Wednesday and four bogeys. Harford had just one bogey on the sixth, the rest pars.
Also representing Furman was Alice Chen. Chen, a 2018 graduate, shot 6-over 78 on Wednesday and is tied for 51st after the first round.
“It was definitely a challenge, definitely a grind,” Chen said. “I wasn’t able to convert any birdies but I also didn’t have many close looks at them. It just gets really hard when you’re missing greens where you’re not supposed to or just hitting it to 50 feet every hole so that’s kind of what I was doing today. So if I can tighten up ... that will be a little helpful.”
Despite having a tough first round, she spoke very highly of the course and is ready to turn things around Thursday.
“I’m still excited for tomorrow, feeling confident and need to just hit a little closer and keep up the good putting,” she said.