Alyssa Hayes and Pennie Cummings each shoot a 77.

BOOTHBAY HARBOR – It is a round of golf that has nagged Abby Spector since last summer.

Since last July, when Abby Spector watched a potential seventh straight WMSGA championship slip away, the former six-time champion couldn’t get over the fact that she wanted to make amends.

“Everything goes through your head,” said Spector, who lost to Alyssa Hayes last summer by six shots after entering the final day tied with her. “I thought about not playing or turning pro. I definitely decided to come back and try to get it back.”

Spector, who says this should be her last WMSGA championship tournament for awhile, started to make good on that goal Tuesday. Spector faltered at times but still shot a one-over-par 72 to take an early lead at Boothbay Country Club.

“I was struggling,” said Spector. “Some of my tee shots went astray and caused me some problems. I played very aggressive today. I went for all the greens that were possible for me to reach off the tee. I hit over the trees on some just to go for it. I probably won’t be doing that tomorrow.”

Spector built a five-stroke lead on Hayes and Pennie Cummings who both shot a 77. Julie Treadwell and Leslie Guenther each had a 78 while Megan Angis was the only other player to break 80, shooting 79.

“My chipping was bad,” said Hayes. “I was unsure. My putting was horrible.”

This year’s tournament was expected to be a another showdown between Spector and Hayes. Playing in the same group, along with Cummings, gave it a final-day feel from the first tee.

“It was hard,” said Spector. “I had to keep reminding myself that there are other players in the field. My caddie helped me with that a lot. He’d say: ‘Don’t play against her. Play against the course.”’

Spector intended to play aggressive right from the outset. She figured she was unlikely to shoot herself out of contention and could put up a fine score if all went well.

“My mindset was to play aggressive and set myself up for some eagle putts,” said Spector. “I was trying to shoot even par. I was a little off from that, but I did get into more trouble than I planned.”

Spector managed to shoot par on the front nine. She had four bogeys on the back but managed a birdie on 15 and an eagle on 18.

“I scrambled pretty well,” said Spector. “I had a couple of bogeys, but they could have been worse.”

On 18, her approached shot landed on the green from just under 200 yards. She dropped a 20-foot putt to finish with a flare.

“I’ve played two practice rounds, and I didn’t hit that green,” said Spector. “I had a bunch of shots from down there and didn’t hit it. I was surprised that it got up the hill, and that was probably the easiest putt I had all day.”

The day didn’t go smoothly for Hayes either. She had birdies on three of the first six holes, but offset those with a triple-bogey on the third hole and a double-bogey on 8 and a bogey on 9, finishing three-over on the front.

“I tripled the third hole,” said Hayes. “After I tripled the third hole, I hit a really bad three-wood right off the tee. That’s when I said to my caddie that ‘this course doesn’t like me today.’ I didn’t really think it was going to be a bad day.

“You never want to get that in your head, but I knew right then that I wasn’t going to use my three-wood much, and if my driver started to be really bad, I’ve been struggling with that all summer, that I couldn’t go to my three-wood. Even if I wanted to put the driver in the bag, I couldn’t because I didn’t have enough confidence in my three-wood.”

Her back nine featured three bogeys in the first six holes and four overall.

“I’m still within reach,” said Hayes. “I think if I work on my short game, and I’m going to go home and work with my coach and my driver. I think I’ll be okay.”

Cummings bogeyed two of her first three holes and finished two-over on the front. After a bogey on 10, she had five straight pars before finishing with a double bogey on 16 and a bogey on 18.

Cumming’s sister, Martha White, finished with an 83. Turner’s Emily Allen, who finished third last year, had an 84.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.