MANCHESTER — Ruby Haylock was working her way toward the lead at the Maine Women’s Amateur Championship. And she was the last one who wanted to know about it.

The rising junior at Leavitt Area High School was splitting fairways, finding greens and rolling putts. And doing her best not to think about it.

“I tried my hardest not to look at the card the entire day,” she said.

She liked what was on it when the round was over. Haylock shot an even-par 73 at Augusta Country Club on Tuesday afternoon, moving her to 3 over for the tournament and, after a shaky round from Day 1 leader Bailey Plourde, giving her a two-shot lead going into Wednesday’s final round.

Plourde shot a 5-over 78 and is in second at 5 over, while Rachel Smith is third at 10 over after carding her second straight 78. Defending champion Jordan Laplume is fourth at 16 over after shooting an 82, and Carrie Langevin (83) and Kristin Kannegieser (88) are tied for fifth at 18 over.

They’ll be chasing Turner Highlands’s Haylock, who was the model of consistency all day with nine of 14 fairways hit off the tee and 15 of 18 greens hit in regulation.

“I’d just write down my scores and I put (the card) away,” she said. “Even on the last hole, I wanted to look at how everyone was doing really badly, because I had no idea what they were shooting. But I kept it in my bag and I finished the round. I tried not to think about it.”

There will be no way to avoid the spotlight on Wednesday. Haylock, however, is ready.

“It feels great. I’ve never gone into Day 3 like this,” said Haylock, who finished fifth in 2018. “That was one of my best tournament rounds ever, so it feels really good.”

Cobbossee Lake can be seen behind Ruby Haylock as she putts on 12th green during the second round of the Maine Women’s Amateur on Tuesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Haylock didn’t need a birdie streak to take command, instead starting the round with eight straight pars. That was enough, however, as Plourde struggled to find and stay in a rhythm on the front. The 2018 champion bogeyed the fourth, sixth and seventh holes, and then took a double bogey on the eighth as her drive sailed left into the trees and was lost in a bush.

“I just feel like I couldn’t get in a groove,” Plourde said. “I feel like I’d have one good shot, and who knows where the next one is going, which is really frustrating. … I just couldn’t make any putts. My short game was just off today.”

The double bogey gave Haylock a two-shot lead going into the ninth, and she responded by rolling in a 10-foot putt for her first birdie of the day to round out a 1-under 35. She bogeyed the 10th but came right back on the par-5 11th, sticking her second shot nine feet from the pin and sinking the putt for an eagle to build her lead to four shots after Plourde bogeyed.

“After my bogey I said to myself ‘You know what, that’s fine. You’re even now, it’s not a big deal,’ ” Haylock said. ” ‘You’ll come back with another good score here or there. Just keep playing.’ ”

The lead reached five on the 14th when Plourde bogeyed for the seventh time, but the Centre College player finished on a high note. She stuck her tee shot on the 130-yard par-3 17th two feet from the pin and made the birdie putt, and was on the green of the par-5 18th in two shots en route to finishing the day with her second straight birdie and third of the afternoon.

The return to form kept Plourde well within striking range, and was just the change of fortune she needed.

“I hit that shot on 17 and hit it right on the pin. That was definitely a turning point,” she said. “That was a good way to end it, and hopefully that’s how I start tomorrow.”

Plourde wasn’t the only player to struggle. Only three players in the top 12 scored better Monday than Tuesday, and only three players shot 81 or better after nine did it the day before.

Rachel Smith putts on the first green during the second round of the Maine Women’s Amateur on Tuesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“I think the toughest thing was the pins, to be honest,” Smith said. “There’s not a single flat putt on this golf course, I’m pretty convinced.”

Smith had the same outcome Tuesday with an identical 78, but she took the opposite path to get there. She shot 36 on the front in the first round, and 37 on the back in the second.

“If I just put them together, anything can happen. You’ve just got to put your head together and figure out how to make it all happen,” she said. “My confidence is really high, but it’s all mental.”

Stephanie Rodrigue and Erin Weimer (20 over), Morghan Dutil (21 over) and Lori Frost and Maria Cianchette (23 over) round out the top 10.

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