Leslie Guenther is extremely disappointed.
Her frustration stems not from her third-place finish in the Maine Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship Aug. 28-30 during her defense of the title she won in 2014. Her regret is that she cannot represent the State of Maine next month in the U.S. Golf Association’s state teams championship next month in Missouri. The wife of the University of Maine Athletic Director Karlton Creech, Staci Creech, who won this year’s Women’s Amateur, and runner-up Emily Bouchard have agreed to play.
That would have formed a strong team of the only three women to capture the Maine Women’s State Amateur crown since it became a consolidated event in 2012, Bouchard having won it in 2012 and 2013. This may have been the grand finale for Bouchard, whose family owns a camp in Poland. She is a licensed air traffic controller and is scheduled for an assignment within the immediate future.
“To be on the same team with them would have been special,” said Guenther, who had her husband David Stonebraker as her caddy. “I was not unhappy to finish third behind those two.”
As athletic director of Hebron Academy, and as Hebron’s field hockey coach, she feels that she should not be in Missouri as the Hebron fall sports schedule begins in September. So she had to pass on what she knows was a great experience and golf opportunity.
While Guenther feels badly about not playing in the teams event, she came away from the Maine Women’s Amateur with a lot of positive vibes.
“As defending champion I acquitted myself pretty well,” she said, explaining that she felt this was one of the best Maine Women’s Amateur tournaments in which she has participated since her first one in 1994. She has been a past runner-up and top-five finisher several times in this event.
“It was the deepest field we have had in several years,” she said about the quality of this year’s players,” she added. “It was a really good championship, and there were several juniors and young women playing.”
One of those juniors was 10-year-old Ruby Haylock of Hartford who plays out of Turner Highlands, where she competes in the ladies league, holding her own and is known for her personality, manners and respect. At age 10, being good enough to compete in a state amateur speaks highly for the future of this young lady.
Guenther also had high praise for Biddeford-Saco, the site of the Women’s Amateur for two reasons. She said the course was in immaculate condition, then adding: “We played on the gold tees. Normally, we play green tees.”
As the summer goes by, Guenther is enjoying golf at Norway, which is close to her home in Hebron near her school’s campus, and at Mingo Springs in Rangeley, where she and her husband own a camp. She is a past women’s champion at both courses and is a four-time past champion of the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association.
As the only female prep school athletic director in Maine, Guenther looks forward to continuing as a competitive female amateur in the coming years.
The Maine State Golf Association continues its busy tournament schedule this week with its match play championship Tuesday through Thursday at Martindale. The weekend tournament events will be Friday and Saturday at Natanis. On Thursday at Fairlawn, the MSGA’s Junior Tour will conduct its final event of the 2015 season. Starting next Sunday the New England Junior Championship will be at Purpoodock.