CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A touch of luck and a ton of confidence from a 25-foot birdie putt to on the first hole were all Rachel Rohanna needed to beat the heat.
Rohanna, an all-Big Ten player at Ohio State, set a U.S. Women’s Amateur scoring record with a 7-under 65 during a muggy first round of stroke play on Monday during which the heat index approached triple digits.
“If it didn’t hit that hole, it probably would have been a good 5 feet by,” said the Waynesburg, Pa., resident who added eight more birdies to go with two bogeys in the morning round. “I was getting lucky on a few shots and I was playing for the center of the green I played well, but I’d say that it was a lot of luck.”
Brooke Pancake, of Chattanooga, Tenn., finished with a 68 as conditions eased slightly with some cloud cover and a slight breeze in the afternoon.
Pancake, who just played in triple-digit temperatures in the women’s collegiate championships in Dahlonega, Ga., last week, struck the middle of the green on No. 11 Monday – a trouble spot for her during practice – giving her a boost after the turn.
“The back side had some crucial holes where you can throw up some high scores,” Pancake said. “But I just stayed in the moment and picked a target and swung - and if I hit it well, great, and if I didn’t, then just go to the next shot.”
Girls junior champion Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., and Jaclyn Sweeney, a senior at Arizona State from Andover, Mass., were at 3-under.
Madison Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., younger sister of LPGA Tour player Morgan Pressel, shot 4-over 76.
Kellee Booth (1998), Natalie Gulbis (1999) and Amanda Blumenherst (2008) previously shared the 18-hole women’s amateur mark of 66.
Sixty-four of 156 players will advance to match play after a second day of stroke play Tuesday in this U.S. Golf Association event, concluding with a 36-hole final on Sunday.