GOFFSTOWN — Lacey Agnew of Jonesboro, Ga., shot a 4-under par 68 Friday to take the first-round lead at the Symetra Tour’s New England Charity Classic at Stonebridge Country Club in Goffstown.
Katie Kempter of Albuquerque, N.M., and Veronica Felibert of Caracas, Venezuela, are tied for second at 3-under par 69.
Four golfers are tied for fourth with 70 and 10 more are tied at 71.
Winds were gusting before noon and scores topped out at 2-under among golfers who played in the morning. In the afternoon, the winds died down and the scores climbed as high as -5, which is where Agnew sat before a bogey at the 16th, her sole bogey of the day.
“I think (the wind) died down toward the end,” Agnew said. “Fortunately I played the back nine later, which in my opinion was a little bit tougher. “We got around there in 1-over, which I’m pretty happy about.”
Several players said Stonebridge plays longer and is hillier than the courses they typically play. Walking the 6,373-yard layout was physically demanding, creating another challenge for the competitors.
Agnew also called the greens challenging.
“The greens were a little bumpy but if you put a good roll on them you have a chance,” said Agnew. “But they put the pins in great spots.”
One highlight of the day was provided by Rachel Schmidt of Elk River, Minn., who aced the 138-yard 15th hole using an 8-iron. It was her second ace, and her first in competitive play.
“It was awesome, the ball was right at the pin and it took one hop and went in,” said Schmidt. “There were a few people behind the green and there were high-fives all around after I picked up my ball.”
The 15th hole is the signature sixth at Stonebridge. The Symetra Tour has flopped the front and back nines for this event.
Schmidt finished her day at 76, 4-over par and eight strokes off the pace.
Kempter shot a 3-under 69 and held the clubhouse lead until late in the day.
“I birdied No. 1 and played solid golf coming down the front,” said the 27-year-old. “I got to the back nine and holed out for eagle with a 9-iron from 130 yards and then the swing got a little iffy, but I had a nice 2-putt birdie on 18 for the 69.”
This is Agnew’s 42nd career Symetra Tour event and she is aiming for her first career win. She ranks 86th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with $5,549 after completing 15 of 20 tour events.
“Just patience,” she said is what she needs to win. “If you hit your shots within 10 feet of the hole you have a good opportunity of making them.
“I’m going to go home, have some dinner and hit the bed. I’ll wake up and hopefully do it again (today),” she said.
The 142-player field will be cut at the end of today’s round to the top 70 and ties for Sunday’s final round. The prize pool is $100,000, with $15,000 going to the winner.
The Symetra Tour is the developmental tour for the LPGA. The top 10 money winners will earn an 2015 LPGA tour card.