Berry's level-par round over Royal Dornoch’s Championship Course has put the Bromborough Golf Club member in pole position heading into the next three rounds.
She is two shots in front of American Lara Tennant, the 2019 Champion and winner of the last three US Senior Women’s Amateur Championships, Peru’s Anna Morales and Emma Brown of England. Tennant and Morales both returned a two-over-par 74 on the Championship Course, while Brown shot 73 on the Struie.
“I’d have been happy to break 80, to be fair,” Berry admitted. “I played a practice round on the Struie yesterday in tough conditions and I thought anything in the high 70s would have been a good score around the Championship course today. So I’m ecstatic to shoot level par.”
A great move for women's golf
This year’s championship marks the first time the Women’s Senior Amateur is being played over four rounds, after a long run of 54-hole championships. It’s also the first time The R&A has run the men’s and women’s championships concurrently.
“Playing this tournament over 72 holes and alongside the men is a great move,” Berry said. “It’s a great way to showcase women’s golf.”
A family affair
Berry’s opening round success partly stemmed from having husband Geoff on the bag. He’s the club professional at Bromborough Golf Club.
“We clubbed well together because he knows my game so well. I hit a lot of good irons into greens so I had a lot of good birdie opportunities. I was level-par on the par-3s, which is good on this course.
“When he’s caddying, I view it as a great consolidation. We very rarely disagree on decisions, and that was the case today.”
Taking the rough with the smooth
The 63-year-old birdied the par-3 2nd, double-bogeyed the par-4, 4th before adding a bogey at the par-3, 6th to be two-over-par for her round. Three birdies in five holes from the 8th got her under-par before a dropped shot at 15 and three straight pars to finish got her into the clubhouse on level-par.
“I’m going to put a big red X on my yardage book for the bunker to the right of the 4th green,” she said.
“I found that bunker and didn’t get out with the first shot. But I just said to myself ‘it’s such a long competition and everyone is going to have a double bogey, so just put it behind you and move on.’ I did that well for the rest of the round.”
The 2001 English Stroke Play champion and 2019 English Senior Women’s winner arrived in Dornoch with modest expectations despite a fourth place finish last year and second place in the 2021 English Senior Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play.
“I just wanted to shoot two scores in the 70s to make the cut, and then hopefully another two scores in the 70s and see where that got me. And when I say the 70s, I mean 79 and 78. That might sound crazy but these are tough golf courses with a lot of long par-4s.”
Berry might have to rethink expectations over the next few days.
The top 40 and ties after tomorrow make the cut.