MANCHESTER — Bailey Plourde picked up right where she left off.

Plourde took the first-round lead at the Maine Women’s Amateur Championship on Monday, shooting an even-par 73 — after starting the day 4 under through 11 holes — to take first place by three shots on a sweltering day at Augusta Country Club.

Ruby Haylock, Kristin Kannegieser and Erin Weimer are tied for second at 3 over. Rachel Smith sits in fifth at 5 over, while defending champion Jordan Laplume is tied for sixth after a 7-over 80.

“I was very confident going into the back nine. I misjudged the wind on a couple of shots out there on the back, which cost some bogeys, but overall I feel like I played well,” Plourde said. “I didn’t get myself out of it, so I’ve got to be happy with it.”

It was a familiar site at the Women’s Am, which Plourde won in her last showing in 2018. She missed last year’s championship while in Kentucky, where she plays for Centre College.

“I love this tournament,” she said. “The ladies here are fantastic, and I definitely missed playing with them last year. I love the competitive mindset of this tournament, it’s a lot of fun.”

Plourde didn’t waste time finding a rhythm, rolling in an 18-foot putt for an opening birdie. She also notched an eagle on the par-5 fourth, reaching the green in two and rolling in a 10-foot putt, and added birdies on the par-3 seventh and — relying again on her length, which exceeded 250 yards off the tee — the par-5 11th to reach 4 under.

“That (eagle) was definitely a confidence-booster, like the first hole,” she said. “I just told myself ‘Keep playing what you’re doing.’ ”

Plourde was on the verge of a runaway, but a bogey on the 12th and then three straight on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes brought her back to the pack. She again had an eagle putt on the 18th, but settled for par.

“I tried to go out there like it was me and the course, not really anyone else,” she said. “Even is a solid score, and I’m happy with that. If it could have been lower that would have been great, but overall, I have to be happy with it.”

Her playing partners in the first group included Lori Frost, who shot 83, and Laplume, who got off to a rocky start with seven bogeys, including a double, on the front. She rebounded to put herself back in the mix, however, birdieing the 12th and 15th holes en route to a 1-under 36 on the back side.

Jordan Laplume hits onto a green as Bailey Plourde looks on during the opening round of the Maine Women’s Amateur on Monday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“I really want to focus on how I rallied on the back, because it just reassures me that I do know how to play this crazy golf game,” Laplume said. “I just couldn’t find my swing. I think a little bit of nerves definitely did not help that, but it was one of those days where I didn’t really know where it was going to go, so I just wanted to try to keep it in play and get through it.”

Laplume said her experience in competitive golf allowed her to hit the reset button.

“I always feel like I’ve been a player that never gives up,” she said. “Especially today, in this important tournament, I could not give up.”

The pack behind Plourde includes Turner Highlands’s Haylock, whose putter heated up as she turned a 5-over start through six holes into a 2-under sprint to the finish.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself,” she said. “I like to just go out and do what I can do, and I kind of focus on just playing my own game and not worrying about what other people are doing.”

Another long hitter worked herself into the running, as Val Halla’s Weimer erased a sluggish start with an excellent back that included an eagle on the 13th and could have been even better were it not for a double bogey on the 18th.

“I was happy to turn it around on the back,” she said. “I know there are some great golfers out there, but if I keep playing steady and play my game, I can hit the ball far and just keep giving myself chances.”

Martindale’s Kannegieser said her ball-striking was off, but a sharp short game allowed her to record three birdies and hang near the top of the board.

“I putted very well, which is really not my M.O.,” she said. “I don’t feel my irons were right on, but I was able to get up and down, I made some long putts. … I’m just happy to be out here and competing. It’s wonderful to look around and see all these young gals that absolutely bomb the ball.”

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