At 143, Hayes has a two-stroke lead heading into the final round Wednesday. Bobbi Salmon of Mount Dora, Fla., the first round leader with 68, added 77 for 145.
'I hit the ball solid, gave myself a lot of opportunities for birdies and made a few of them,' Hayes said. 'I just kept the ball in play and stayed out of trouble.'
A seasonal assistant at both The Country Club in suburban Boston and at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Hayes birdied the first, eighth and 10th holes and bogeyed Nos. 3 and 7 before finishing with eight straight pars on the course playing 5,646 yards. Her birdie putts were 5, 5 and 2 feet, respectively.
Salmon saw her four-shot lead disappear on the front nine with bogeys at the fourth and fifth and a double bogey at the par-4 sixth. 'I thought I hit a perfect drive at six and the ball wound up in the water,' Salmon said. She also bogeyed the 11th and 12th and birdied the first and last holes on the back, Nos. 10 and 18.
Former champion Jennifer Cully of St. Petersburg also shot 71 and climbed to sixth at 153.
Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Conn., stands in fifth place, eight shots back, after her 74 which followed an opening round of 77.
The winner Wednesday will earn $2,000 from the $12,000 purse. The leaders:
143 - Rebecca Hayes, Brookline, Mass., 72-71.
145 - Bobbi Salmon, Mount Dora, 68-77.
148 - Cathy Edelen, North Port, 76-72. Debby Murphy, Webster, N.Y., 75-73.
151 - Suzy Whaley, Farmington, Conn., 77-74.
153 - Jennifer Cully, St. Petersburg, 82-71.
154 - Kelly Sheehan, Orlando, 79-75. Susan Kelley, Nokomis, 78-76. Shannon Hanley, Potomac, Md., 74-80.
155 - Troy Beck, Glenn Dale, Md., 81-74. Carolyn Barnett-Howe, Applreon, Wis., 76-79.
156 - C.J. Reeves, Purchase, N.Y., 83-73. Marjorie Jones, Orlando, 78-78. Patricia Frohna, West Palm Beach, 78-78.
159 - Holly Anderson, Chevy Chase, Md., 78-81. Angela Aulenti, Stamford, Conn., 82-77.