Susan Court captured her one and only Senior Amateur championship in Bozeman in 2010.
The 57-year-old Helena golfer looks like she’s in pretty good shape to win it all again.
Court fashioned a 10-over-par 82 (41-41) on a sunny Friday morning at Yellowstone Country Club and will take a whopping 10-stroke advantage into Saturday’s closing round at the Montana State Women’s Golf Association Amateur and Senior Amateur tournaments.
“It would mean a lot,” Court said of securing another senior title in the field of 83 competitors, ages 50 and up. “It would be very satisfying because when you win one and you can’t win another one, you tend to think ‘was it a fluke or not?’
“I just want to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. I would be very satisfied to play well tomorrow, just stick to my game and put up a nice round. I can’t help what other people do, but I can certainly control what I do.”
Court, who isn’t a long-ball hitter, led by four strokes after her opening round of 80 under hot, windy conditions on Thursday.
Her 36-hole total of 162 now has her 10 strokes ahead of three-time champion Sue Matson of Laurel, who is at 172 after carding an 88 on Friday. Fay Ferraro of Bozeman is sitting third at 175 after shooting a second-round 87.
Bobbi Lacklen of Libby is fourth at 178 (89-89), while two-time reigning champion Sue Peterson of Glendive is fifth at 180 (87-93).
“I’m not going to sleep easy tonight, I’ll tell you that much,” Court said. “They’re all capable of going low, very low. The person that comes out with all of their woods and irons and putting game in A-plus condition tomorrow is going to win.”
In the much-tighter, 97th annual Open amateur tournament, first-round leader Kyla Clancy of Park City opened up a four-stroke lead over Dorsey Addicks of Big Sky.
Clancy, 20, shot the day’s best round at 1-over 73 and has a 36-hole total of 148. Addicks, 19, carded her second consecutive 76 and is at 152.
Cathie Williamson of Great Falls and Haylee Folkvord of Bozeman are tied for third at 156. Maggie Crippen of Missoula is fifth at 157.
Clancy is shooting for her first Open title. She eagled the par-5, No. 3 hole on Friday, then notched back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16 en route to another 1-under 35 on the windy backside.
“My irons were on today, my wedges were on,” Clancy said. “I had a couple, you know, oops holes, but other than that I came back and just kept plugging along.
“My putting was really good today,” she added. “I had 29 putts today, seven better than yesterday.”
Clancy, who is on the golf team at Rocky Mountain College, said “whatever happens tomorrow happens. I’m just going to go out and play my game, stay focused and have fun.”
The final group of amateurs tee off at 12:40 p.m.
Playing in the first group out on Friday, Court double-bogeyed her final hole during a speedy round played in four hours, 15 minutes.
“Other than that, it was a real nice, steady round,” she said. “I was consistent with my driving, right down the middle of the fairway most of the time, except for the very last hole. Chipping and putting wasn’t easy, but I didn’t have any three-putts, so that was good.”
A former physical education teacher, Court, who now works in the Health Enhancement Division at the Office of Public Instruction in Helena, is playing in her seventh Senior Amateur.
“Every year, my supervisors know this is my four-day vacation,” Court said. “It’s pretty much designated on my calendar.”
Matson, 63, said it’s going to be hard to stop Court from returning to Helena with a championship.
“She’s playing steady. She is just absolutely rock-solid this year,” said Matson, who won her titles in 2011, 2008 and 2007. “She’s playing awesome golf.”
As for her own game, “I’ve been shaky for a couple of days,” she said. “I’m not nervous, just anxious I guess. I’m not putting myself in some good places, and that doesn’t help.”
Peterson, 52, is trying to become the first senior player to win three consecutive championships.
“I had the shanks yesterday, and it just carried over,” she said of Friday’s round.
Peterson also said that Court will be tough to catch.
“She’s a very consistent player, and it’s fun to see,” Peterson said. “She’s put a lot of time in — and that helps, too.”
There are 83 seniors and 53 amateurs competing in the 54-hole tournaments, which are being played at 5,604 yards over the tree-lined YCC layout.
NOTE: Hannah Zwemke, 17, of Billings aced the 122-yard, No. 17 hole on Friday afternoon with a 7-iron into the wind. Playing partners Taryn Campbell and Anna DeMars were witnesses. Zwemke shot a 76, and has a 159 total.