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Women's golf: Teens take center stage at Utah Women's State Amateur

By mike sorensen

Deseret News

Published: Monday, Aug. 5 2013 9:41 p.m. MDT

MIDWAY — A couple of teenagers set the pace on the first day of the Women's State Amateur golf tournament Monday at Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course.

Sirene Blair, who just completed her career at Bingham High School before going to play at San Diego State, and Rynae Baca, who just completed her freshman year at Southern Utah, both fired 2-under-par 70s to tie for the lead in the medal portion of the tournament.

After Tuesday, the 50-player field will be cut to the low 15 golfers, plus defending champion Kelsey Chugg, for the match play portion of the tourney, which concludes Thursday.

The 18-year-old Blair has been a dominant force in Utah women's golf for the past several years, but she has yet to win a Women's Am title. She got off to a shaky start Monday with a bogey-6 on the first hole and was 2-over through 8 holes. However, she birdied No. 9, made an eagle-3 at No. 14 and added another birdie at No. 15.

Baca, who is a native of Wasilla, Alaska, had five birdies in her round and would have had the outright lead before bogeying No. 18.

One shot back at 71 is Lea Garner, who just finished her freshman season at BYU after a stellar career at Bonneville High School. Chugg, whose scores won't matter in the medal play, came in at 72 along with University of Montana golfer Tara Green, while 60-year-old Annette Gaiotti fired a 73.

Four golfers — Haley Dunn, Kalea Heu, Randi Stephens and Kristie Jensen — finished at 74, while Selu Fotu and Madi Rooker shot 75s. Carly Oldroyd, Brooke Whittaker and Nicole Begay all shot 76 to round out the top 15.

Among the top golfers who will need better scores Tuesday to make it to match play are 2011 champion Julie McMullin (77), two-time champion Sue Nyhus (78), last year's runner-up, 14-year-old Naomi Soifua (78), and former champion Melanie (Warren) Christensen (82).

After the 16 golfers are set after Tuesday's round, the first two rounds of match play will be held Wednesday. Then on Thursday, the semifinals will be played in the morning with an 18-hole final set for the afternoon.

Email: sor@desnews.com

Utah Women's State Amateur

Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course

Par-72

Monday

70 — Sirene Blair, Rynae Baca

71 — Lea Garner

72 — Kelsey Chugg, Tara Green

73 — Annette Gaiotti

74 — Haley Dunn, Kalea Heu, Randi Stephens, Kristie Jensen

75 — Selu Fotu, Madi Rooker

76 — Carly Oldroyd, Brooke Whittaker, Nicole Begay

77 — Julie McMullin, Sadie Palmer, Hannah Herman

78 — Courtney Smith, Sue Nyhus, Nicole Thomas, Naomi Soifua, Mary Bischoff

79 — Elizabeth Jones, Allison Cluff, Jordyn Dougal

80 — Annika Afoa-kahaiali'I, Rina Slade

81 — Roberta Scott

82 — Melanie Christensen

83 — Haylee Chugg, Lauren Okutsu, Kareen Alton, Kimberly Nyhus

84 — Shantell Spackman, Heather Mathison

85 — Mallory Marx, Stephanie Hoffee, Kuselya Plewe, Sara Federico, Cobair Collinsworth

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