Yesterday I drove down I-95 from Boston to Barrington, RI excited to get to Rhode Island Country Club and start prepping for the US Women's Amateur. I always look forward to working the Women's Am, but this year I'm especially excited because it's the first time the Am has returned to RICC since 1987, the year that I won it for the 2nd time!
RICC sits near the Narragansett Bay and is part seaside, part parkland course. It's a gem designed by the great Donald Ross in 1911. There is no trickery here, except for the challenging greens. It is a scenic, tranquil course that inspires--one never tires of playing RICC.
This week I'm staying with Bob and Audrey Sprague who ran the Championship back in '87. They live right off the course, so it will be an easy walk or bike ride for me from their house to the tv compound. So far today, I toured the course and memories of my matches here came flooding back. I remember feeling that rare sense of confidence in all parts of my game, especially w/ my putter. I remember beating Carol Semple Thompson for the first time in the quarter finals and having to bring my very best game to do so. I remember during the final match versus Tracy Kerdyk being 2 up after the first 18 only to have play suspended for the rest of the day after we had hit our approaches to the first green of the afternoon match. It was the only time that I was slightly discouraged, mostly because I was so focused and prepared to play 36 holes that day and then suddenly I had to face another anxiety ridden night before another final day. Of course, it all ended up great for me as I beat Tracy 3 & 2 to win my 2nd straight Women's Amateur.
Today, it was great seeing all the women out there playing the second day of stroke play....some were carrying or pull carting their own bags. Some had family or friends on the bag and others had local caddies toting the bag. The course has been lengthened by 150-190 yards and is playing at par 71 rather than par 73. Hopefully the weather will hold tonight and tomorrow am and we'll have the 64 set to play the matches. Can't wait!!