Ashleigh Duflo, Mia Melendez, Lauren Davis Tied for Lead in Michigan Women’s Amateur at Plum Hollow Country Club

Written By: Greg Johnson

SOUTHFIELD – A trio of golfers, Ashleigh Duflo of Ada and the University of Findlay (Ohio), Mia Melendez, a junior at Ann Arbor Greenhills High School, and Lauren Davis, a senior at Coopersville High School, shared the lead through the first round of stroke play in the 108th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland.

Each of them shot a 3-over 73 at Plum Hollow Country Club Monday, just ahead of a trio at 74 and seven golfers at 75.

Elise Fennell of Caledonia, who is headed to Illinois State University in the fall, Amaya Melendez, Mia’s older sister, and Bridget Boczar, the 2023 GAM Women’s Champion who plays at Oakland University, made up the group at 74.

Katie Chipman of Grand Rapids, the defending champion and an assistant coach at Grand Valley State University, and Olivia Hemmila of Troy and Oakland University, the runner-up last year, led the seven golfers who shot 75.

Others shooting 5-over included Elayna Bowser, the 2019 Women’s Amateur champion and recent GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, Megha Vallabhaneni of Northville and Western Michigan University, Kamryn Shannon of Jackson and Ferris State University, 2022 GAM Women’s Champion Sophie Stevens of Highland and the University of Florida, and 2022 GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Chelsea Collura of Wyandotte.

Another 18 holes of stroke play follows on Tuesday to determine the 32-golfer match play bracket. The round of 32 is Wednesday, the round of 16 and quarterfinals Thursday and the semifinals and finals are on Friday.

Duflo, the Freshman of the Year in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), said keeping her focus was critical in the cold, windy conditions. She made six bogeys, including three early in her round, but also made three birdies.

“You are going to make bogeys, but the birdies will come as long as you limit yourself to making only bogeys and nothing worse than that, and I did that,” she said. “And being positive is another thing I liked. The conditions were tough today, but I didn’t complain and let it get into my head.”

Melendez, a GAM 15-and-under Girls’ Player of the Year in 2022, made birdie on the par 4 seventh hole and then eagled the par 5 eighth hole with a 25-yard downhill chip-in to highlight her round.

“My round was pretty steady and I would say the best part of my game was my putting,” she said. “I was fortunate to make a lot of long putts that I needed to save par and keep my score as low as possible. I’ve been playing decently well, and I’ve been focusing on my putting because I was aware this was going to be a challenging course and it was going to test my short game.”

Davis made four birdies in her round and said she listened to her caddie, father Ray Davis, a golf professional at Spring Lake Country Club.

“I hit the middle of the greens and made some putts,” she said. “My caddie kept talking to me and keeping me confident and I just hit the shots. We did good together. I just let him read the putts and I hit them.”

She made a 45-footer on 18 for birdie to cap her round.

“I probably won’t ever make that putt again,” she quipped.

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