THOMPSONVILLE — Milena Savich said she had never golfed at Crystal Mountain before Sunday.
You wouldn’t have known it on Monday.
With only one practice under her belt, the first-year professional from Indiana shot a opening-round 68 to lead the Michigan PGA Women’s Open by a shot over Michigan State’s Lindsey McPherson and Elk River, Minn., resident Rachael Schmidt.
“Usually the first round is my Achilles heel, so this was confidence building,” Savich said. “My best opening round before was about a 71.”
The 23-year-old graduated from Georgia last year and turned pro in December. She’s on the Symetra Tour, as well as playing events in Canada in order to tune up for the LPGA Q School.
“I made a couple good saves for par there on the back (nine),” said Savich, who played the front nine at -4 and the back even. “I pushed it way right (on 15) and almost holed out from 95 yards, which was good. Then on 16, I hit a really good shot under a tree off the mud and missed a putt there. The three-putt on 17 really hurt. But probably my best shot of the day was my second chip on 18. After the nasty lie on the rough, I just slammed it into the ground. But that (second) chip definitely made me feel better.”
Savich, who started her collegiate golf career at Michigan before transferring to Georgia, said before Sunday, her only experience at Crystal Mountain was skiing when she was 10. She recently won the SunCoast Ladies Tour event LPGA International Champions on March 25-27 by one stroke with a final-round 72.
McPherson, a junior at MSU, shot her best round of competitive golf, pumping her fist after making a putt on No. 18 to finish with her first-ever sub-70 round.
“It’s almost a high, when you see it go in the hole,” McPherson said. “It’s a major milestone, shooting in the 60s.”