Emma Schroeder has played too much tournament golf to take a first-round lead for granted.
“There are still 36 holes to play, so one hole at a time,” said Schroeder, who is atop the leader board at the Women's City Tournament thanks to a 1-under 71 on Friday at Coyote Creek Golf Club.
The first round was ruled by a trio of college players, each seeking her first championship at the Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association's premier event.
Brooke Moser, who's on the University of Southern Indiana team, and Lexy Stuckey, who plays for Butler, each shot 72. But they couldn't quite keep pace with Purdue Fort Wayne's Schroeder, who closed with a 3-under 33 on a back nine that included birdies on Nos. 13, 15 and 17.
“There were a couple of (bad) holes on the front nine, but I was able to recover well. I stayed calm, figured it out and ended up pretty well,” said Schroeder, a 21-year-old Homestead graduate, who rallied after going 4 over on Nos. 7-9, including a double bogey on the par-4 8th.
“My family was members here for a year, so I do know the course pretty well. I didn't normally play it as short as we did today, so it was nice.”
Schroeder finished fifth last year at Brookwood Golf Club, where she was 1 under through the final two rounds and put herself among this year's favorites.
Moser, 22, a Leo graduate, has been in the hunt at the City Tournament several times before, finishing fourth in 2016 and 2018, and sixth last year.
“I've been close multiple times, so I'm really just looking to ride the wave, not push anything and just let it happen if it happens,” said Moser, who had three birdies and three bogeys, and helped herself immensely with a birdie on the par-5 18th.
“My driver was really setting me up for my approach shots, so that was the good part of my game. And my putting was really good, too.”
Stuckey, 21, a DeKalb graduate, had two birdies and two bogeys, finishing with a 35 on the back nine to pull into a tie with Moser.
“I feel like, finally this summer, everything's going smoothly,” Stuckey said. “I feel really strong in my ability to hit the ball well. There's no club or shot that I'm like, 'Oh, I don't like that, let's try something different.' I feel like I've hit a spot where I can be aggressive and can pull off a lot better shots than I could have even a few month ago.”
Some of the city's top players couldn't compete because of personal and golf commitments elsewhere – that group includes the top three 2020 finishers, Sarah Frazier, Madison Dabagia and Simone Senk – but 12 players still shot in the 70s on one of Fort Wayne's toughest courses.
Five-time champion Lori Stinson is in fourth place at 3 over. Casey Bunner and Kimberly Cornman are tied for fifth at 4 over.
Allyson Stuckey, Amara Eckert, Cassidy Ayres and Megan Yoder are tied for seventh at 5 over. Michelle Smith, another five-time champion, is at 6 over.
“It's always great coming back and meeting up with the high school players that I know and seeing everybody's different collegiate bags and hats that we're wearing,” Lexy Stuckey said.
At Coyote Creek Golf Club
Par: 72; Yardage: 5,667
1. Emma Schroeder 71 -1
2. Lexy Stuckey 72 E
2. Brooke Moser 72 E
4. Lori Stinson 75 +3
5. Kimberly Cornman 76 +4
5. Casey Bunner 76 +4