LIMA — No matter if the field is large or small, Sandy Doan still enjoys the Lima Area Women’s Match Play Tournament.
“I’m still as excited to play as I ever was,” the five-time champion said after shooting a 76 on the first day of qualifying in this year’s tournament at Springbrook Golf Club.
Shelby Warner, a sophomore at the University of Findlay, shot a 73 to lead the championship flight qualifiers. Doan was second and Raven Venegas, a freshman at Walsh University, came in with a 77.
They are the only three players in the championship flight and there are 20 golfers overall in the field, down seven from last year and less than half of what it was a decade ago.
Joan Whittaker’s 77 led the open and senior flight players. Teresa Adams shot an 81 and Becky Komminsk and Brenda Schimmoeller shot 84.
Warner birdied No. 2, No. 5 and No. 7 on her way to a 34 on the front nine. A bogey at No. 17 and a double at No. 18 kept her from shooting even par.
“It started out pretty well. I started out with a bogey so I knew I had to come back from that,” Warner said. “I had three birdies on the front. It kind of fell apart the last few holes but I kept it together.”
Doan had two birdies late in her round, at No. 15 and No. 17, but thought she left some opportunities on the course.
“It should have been better but everybody would say that about their round,” she said. “I hit the ball solid for as much as I play golf anymore. I don’t get to play as much as I’d like. My putting was a little weak but overall I’m happy with how I played.”
Venegas had two double bogeys on the front nine and was six-over par at the turn before rebounding with a 36 on the back nine.
“It was definitely a turnaround. I started out a little shaky and rough,” she said. “I’ll be putting a lot tonight so hopefully that will get better in the morning.”
The tournament continues with a second round of stroke play at Springbrook today before beginning match play at the Delphos Country Club on Friday. The semifinals will be Saturday at Hidden Creek Golf Club and the championship matches are scheduled Sunday at the Shawnee Country Club.
With only three players in the championship flight, the low qualifier will advance to Sunday’s championship match and the other two players in that flight will automatically move on to the semifinals on Saturday.