Tamulis Up on Futures Tour

By Futures Tour MediaJuly 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourCANTERBURY, N.H. -- Florida flatlander Kris Tamulis showed no fear on the rolling hills of Canterbury Woods Country Club.
On a track that players say made last week's Stratton Mountain 'look flat,' the former Florida State University player carded an opening round 6-under-par 66 for the lead in the $65,000 Laconia Savings Bank Futures Golf Classic.
'I really had to pay attention to the shots -- whether they were uphill or downhill,' said Tamulis, 23, of Naples, Fla. 'I'm a target player all the time. I'm boring. I don't like to have a lot of erratic stuff going on out there.'
The only peaks and valleys this rookie saw were the ones she walked on the front nine. She rolled in four birdies on the front with a par save on the seventh hole from the woods. And she recorded four birdies and two bogeys on the back for her first time as a solo leader on the Futures Golf Tour. For the day, she hit 16 greens, 11 fairways and drained 29 putts.
But another rookie, Malinda Johnson of Eau Claire, Wis., did her best to catch Tamulis, firing a 5-under-par 67 on the par-72, 6,076-yard course. The former University of Wisconsin player used her length to reach four of the five par-5s in two shots. She also drove the green on the uphill par-4, 264-yard fifth hole for eagle, carding six birdies, one eagle and two bogeys for the day that also included two three-putts.
'This course is deceiving to the eye how far you have to carry your shots,' said Johnson, whose 67 tied her low round of the year. 'But I'm pleased coming right out of the blocks to play like I did today. Sometimes, I have trouble starting and I tend to get stronger as the week goes on. Today, I just felt really good over the ball.'
Jessica Polus-Strelec of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., kicked off a group of seven players who recorded rounds of 4-under-par 68. Polus-Strelec relied on her putter for a day that included 24 putts. The second-year player credited 'good reads' by her caddie-husband, Ted Strelec, for helping her get off to a good start.
'I was hitting them where he read it,' she said. 'I'm going to try to keep the putter hot.'
Also posting an opening round of 68 was Theresa McDermott of Scarborough, Ontario, who had the shot of the day with a hole-in-one on the 208-yard eighth hole. McDermott used a 5-wood and watched the ball draw, bounce, hit the flagstick, then drop into the cup for her ace.
'I thought it was close,' said the second-year player, who has recorded four career holes-in-one.
Also getting on the board with rounds of 68 were Jessica Lewis of Bethesda, Md., Michelle Murphy of Tacoma, Wa., Naree Song of Seoul, Korea, Seon-Hwa Lee of Chonan, Korea and last week's winner in Stratton Mountain, 18-year-old Aram Cho of Seoul.
Eight players tied at 3-under 69, while six tied at 2-under 70 and 15 tied at 1-under-par 71. In all, 38 players finished under par in the opening round of the 54-hole inaugural New Hampshire event.
What Saturday brings on the two-year-old course is anybody's guess as the rain-saturated greens dry out and firm up.
'This course is cool with a lot of variety,' said Murphy, who grew up in the hills of Washington State. 'It's a new course and things haven't completely grown in yet, but you can see there's a lot of character here already and it's just going to get better and better.'
And if today's leaders have it their way, their scores will go the way of the valleys at Canterbury Woods.
Saturdays second round will begin at 8 a.m., off the first and 10th tees. The leaders will tee off at 2:10 p.m.
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