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Christina Ricci putts on the 18th green as she finishes the second round of the New Hampshire Women's Golf Association state championship Tuesday at Windham Country Club. Ricci enters Wednesday's final round in second place, seven strokes back of 15-time champion Dana Harrity. (HARRY KOZLOWSKI))

Harrity eyes 16th NH Women's Golf Association championship

WINDHAM — Dana Harrity overcame a disastrous start and played a strong back nine to shoot a second-day best two-over 74 and take a seven-stroke lead after two rounds of the New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association championship at Windham Country Club Tuesday.

Harrity, who plays at Abenaqui Country Club in Rye, is at 3-over 147 after the second round.

Harrity is poised to win the state championship for the 16th time at today’s final round.

“It’s really all about the first shot,” said Harrity. “If you drive it straight here, you score.”

Christina Ricci of Atkinson Country Club, playing in her first state championship, lost ground Tuesday but remains in second. She shot a 7-over 79 and is at 10-over 154 after two days.

Mindy Inglis-Reid from Pembroke Pines and Joan Cyr of Rochester Country Club duplicated their first round 6-over 78s to finish tied for third at 12-over 156.

Monday’s co-leader, 14-year-old Lauren Thibodeau, playing at her home course, shot a 12 on the fifth hole and a nine on the 10th to fall far off the pace. She finished with a 16-over 88 Tuesday and trails Harrity by 14 strokes with a 17-over 161, tied for seventh.

The first hole, a triumph for Harrity on Monday, was more a tragedy Tuesday.

“I eagled that hole (Monday). (Tuesday) I double bogeyed, so it was a pretty bad start,” said Harrity.

But she responded with a birdie on two. She bogeyed five, six and eight and made the turn at 5-over. She settled down after that with birdies 10 and 14 to turn things around.

“My husband once said the only shot that’s important is the next one,” said Harrity. “So I just tried to stay as focused as I could.”

“I just tried to hang in there and shot 2-under on the back nine,” said Harrity. “I was very solid on the back, very consistent.”

Ricci and Thibodeau were part of the final threesome of the day with Harrity. Ricci kept pace with Harrity at nine but had three bogeys, plus a double bogey on 11, to fall off the pace.

“I hope I play better (today) because I didn’t like the way I played (Tuesday),” said Ricci. “When things go wrong it gets hard to stay in the game mentally.”

Ricci said she planned to hit the driving range after her round to prepare for the final round today. “A lot of birdies (today). That’s what I plan to do,” she said.

Cyr and Inglis-Reid remain tied for third after carding 78s. “Seventy-eight was easier the day before. Today I was happy to earn it,” said Inglis-Reid. “It doesn’t take much to get you in a bad spot, then you are struggling for par.”Thibodeau had the toughest day, falling from a share of the lead Monday to 14 strokes behind. The young player was visibly upset with her performance, but her fellow golfers say it’s all part of the game.

“It’s tough to stay focused and it’s a learning process. It’s happened to a lot of players,” said Harrity.

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