“There were nerves playing with them,” Loy said. “But I love that. Being out here and competing with the best really got the adrenaline pumping and I enjoyed the crowd here to watch us tee off.”
Loy shot a first round 76 that had a little bit of everything. Leaving the first tee with Jessica Yuen and Alice Hewson as the eighth group to go off on the front-nine, Loy opened her day with a par on the 385-yard par-four first hole that saw just four birdies all day.
The par was one of just six that she would card in her first round as the senior ebbed and flowed between red and black numbers the majority of the day. Holes two and three would be bogeys, though Loy would get a stroke back on the fourth, logging her first birdie of the day.
Following her second par, a bogey and a birdie followed, the same three-hole scoring sequence repeating itself as Loy moved from the front-nine to the back-nine. Loy, known for devastating consistency, played both the front and the back in 2-over-par.
“I made a couple of mistakes out there and didn’t play the Par 5s well,” Loy said. “But there were also a lot of positives to take away from the round today and I’m looking forward to a better day tomorrow.”
The 4-over-par mark leaves Loy tied for 40th-place in the 72-player field going into Thursday’s elimination round, with the top-30 two-day scores moving on to Saturday’s final round at Augusta National Golf Club.
While Loy is currently 10 spots removed from being in a position to advance to the NBC-televised final round at the hallowed grounds of Augusta, she is just two strokes back of 30th, with Brooke Seay, Amanda Doherty and Chinese Taipei’s Yu-Chiang Hou all tied for the final spot in Saturday’s field at 2-over-par.
At the top of the leaderboard, defending NCAA Individual Champion Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest was first in the clubhouse with a 4-under-par 68. Joining her later in the day was UCLA-commit and West Ranch High School (Calif.) sophomore Zoe Campos, the two leaving day one two strokes ahead of a four-way tie for second-place.
“Augusta’s tournament chairman said it,” ETSU head coach Stefanie Shelton, who is accompanying Loy this week, said. “This is the greatest amateur field ever assembled, the best 72 females in the world. (Champions Retreat) is a demanding golf course that challenges you both mentally and physically, and Loy was amazing. She was ready for the day and looked great out there.”
Loy tries to climb the leaderboard and get into the top-30 on Friday beginning at 9:48 a.m., once again going off eighth amongst groups that start their second rounds on the first tee. Loy will once again be paired with Yuen and Hewson, and you can follow her progress with hole-by-hole updates on the ANWA’s official website.
In addition to the digital scoring, live updates, cut-ins, and highlights will be provided throughout Thursday’s proceedings by the Golf Channel, found on your local cable or satellite provider, while a recap with reaction from Loy and Shelton will be available at ETSUbucs.com following the conclusion of the second round Thursday evening.