HYDE PARK -- The first day of match play at the 115th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship was completed on Wednesday at George Wright Golf Course.
A total of 30 matches featuring 60 competitors were contested with the winners - in both the Championship Flight and President's Cup Flight - earning the right to continue on to the round of 16.
One of the youngest in the field took on one of the most senior competitors in the round of 32. In the end, it was 16-year-old Emily Nash of Lunenburg who defeated Gail Regan by a score of 9 & 8.
"Today my putting was really good and it really helped me a lot," said Nash, the Lunenburg High star who was in the news last year after a dispute in the MIAA boys tournament. "I just played overall pretty consistent, I was just hitting fairways and greens. I think on the front I had two birdies and on the back I had one on hole 10."
Nash opened her round of 32 match by winning the first three holes with pars. She then hit her 7 iron on the par-3 4th hole to 10 feet and made that birdie putt. A bogey and two pars later, Nash stuck her 9-iron approach shot on the par-4 9th hole to five feet to take a commanding lead heading into the back nine.
"This course is definitely tight, so hitting fairways is definitely kind of really important on this course," said Nash. "Also the greens are definitely tough. I think I kind of got an eye for the greens now, so that is definitely helping me a lot.
She continued her momentum by winning the 10th hole with a par. Even when she looked to be in trouble - like on the par 5 11th hole where she hit her drive left and then left herself with a long birdie putt - Nash found a way to convert. On that particular hole, Nash was able to close out the match by making that long 20-foot birdie putt.
"It was definitely important," said Nash about advancing through the first day of match play. "Last year I played in this event at Myopia and I think in the first round I may have gotten knocked out by Katie Barrand, so definitely this round I wanted to get out to a solid start and wanted to score well. I think I was 2 under on the front, so I am glad I was able to keep that up."
Nash was scheduled to face Skylar Frankiewicz of Stow Acres CC in the next round.
"The U.S. Challenge Cup has two match plays," said Nash about her match play experience. "I played in the U.S. Girls' Junior in California, and I didn't make the cut to match play but I was kind of close. This is my first time since the spring where I have played head-to-head match play. I think match play for me is better than stroke play, so I like being head to head."