Bonnie Fry, whose most recent of her six Women's Golf Association titles came 11 years ago, grabbed the opening-day lead in the annual WGA championships yesterday, posting 37-42--79 at the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.
Fry was the only competitor in the 56-player field to break par. It turned out to be another day when this well-groomed course, noted for its deceiving distances and subtleties, took its toll.
Fry, from Maryland Golf and Country Club in Bel Air, was 2-over par on the front nine, and maintained that pace on the back before slipping with bogeys on three of the last four holes.
"It was a shaky round," said Fry, five of whose other victories came in succession, beginning in 1978, and the sixth in 1986. "I never felt as though I was in control."
Green Spring's Tinker Sanger was a stroke off the lead at 41-39--80, followed by Kristin Dollenberg, current women's club champion at Baltimore CC, 81, and Connie Pifer, Hunt Valley GC, 82.
Sanger's 2-over-par second nine included an 8 at the par-4 13th, where she hit an out-of-bounds second shot.
Of the other past champions in the field, Joan Winchester (1971) of Rolling Road Golf Club shot 84, and Joanne Smith (1987) of Suburban had 86. Last year's winner, Kathy Franz, was ineligible, having turned professional.
The leaders: Bonnie Fry, 37-42--79; Tinker Sanger, 41-39--80; Kristin Dollenberg, 37-44--81; Connie Pifer, 41-41--82; Joan Winchester, 42-42--84; Kanya Chintrisna, 43-41--84; Sharon Pusin, 42-42--84; Joanne Smith, 43-43--86; Young Ja Kim, 43-44--87; Nicki Keeney, 45-42--87; Sue Sherwood, 42-45--87; Susan Schuh, 41-46 --87.
Young-A Yang and Ryan Hybl made clutch 18th-green putts to provide the East with a pair of 1-up, mixed-foursome victories as it took a 9-6 lead over the West after the first day of matches in the eighth annual event at Caves Valley Golf Club.
Yang's 10-foot par putt to complete an up-and down from a greenside bunker gave this season's two-time AJGA champion and partner Erik Labitzke the nod over Leilani Bagby and Chris Emanuel.
Hybl's 18-footer broke off at the hole but caught enough of the lip to fall in and also complete a save from below the green as he and new U.S. Girls Junior champion Beth Bauer staved off a late rally by Kelli Kamimura-Russell Surber.
Bauer was one of five players to have a part in two victories in the morning (better-ball) and afternoon pairings.
The others were Cimmie Shahan, from Spring Grove, Pa., who had qualified for the U.S. Juniors at Green Spring last month, and is a student of highly regarded Hanover (Pa.) Country Club professional Ted Sheftic; East teammate John Klauk, and the West's J.C. DeLeon and Brian Nosler.
The afternoon side of Bauer-Hybl forged a 2-up margin by winning the 14th, 15th and 16th holes, but Kamimura-Surber stayed alive with a winning par at the 17th.
The latter team reached the par-4 18th green in two, but Hybl's shot caught the last tree limb on a shot that seemed headed for the flagstick. Bauer pitched to 18 feet, and her partner, who thought the putt was dead center, did the rest.
Jin Park, whose 133 earned the medal in sectional U.S. Amateur qualifying at Bretton Woods on Monday, had a part in a morning win and an afternoon loss.
Today's program calls for foursomes in the morning and mixed four-ball in the afternoon. All 40 players will play in the morning, and the 20 who did not play in yesterday's mixed foursomes will play the afternoon mixed format.
Four-ball matches: Jin Park-Russell Suber (West) def. Lucas Glover-Scott Wingfield, 2 and 1; Angela Jerman-Leigh Anne Hardin (East) def. Molly Cooper- Salimah Mussani, 1 up; Bubba Watson-Mike Austin (East) def. Nicholas Loar-Cory Driskill, 5 and 4; Kari Damron-Katy Wilkinson (East) def. Julie Oh-Leilani Bagby, 4 and 3; Michael Maness-John Klauk (East) def. Robert Sul-Chris Emanuel, 5 and 4; Cimmie Shahan-Candy Hannemann (East) def. Kelli Kamimura-Blair O'Neal, 4 and 2; Beth Bauer-Heather Angell (East) def. Kim Rowton-Randi Meadows, 6 and 5; Brian Nosler-Leif Olson (West) def. Erik Labitzke-John Engler, 1 up; Laura Blessey-Candie Kung (West) def. Reilley Rankin-Young-A Yang, 2 and 1; Bryce Molder-J.C. DeLeon (West) def. Ryan Hybl-David Gossett, 1 up.
Mixed foursomes: Shahan-Klauk (East) def. Mussani-Park, 4 and 3; Cooper-Nosler (West) def. Jerman-Austin, 5 and 3; Meadows-DeLeon (West) def. Hannemann-Wingfield, 4 and 2; Yang-Labitzke (East) def. Bagby-Emanuel, 1 up; Bauer-Hybl (East) def. Kamimura-Surber, 1 up.
Pub Date: 8/06/97