Martinson’s 78 puts her on top of women’s contest

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By Mike Cote

When you’re hot, you’re hot.

And right now, Tami Martinson is swinging about as hot a club as she ever has.

Just two days after what she called the best round of her career, Martinson fired a 6-over in Saturday’s first round of the Los Alamos Ladies’ City Championship. Her opening round 78 gives her a 6-shot advantage of her nearest competitor heading into today’s second and final round.

Today’s final 18 holes is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.

Following her opening round, Martinson said she wasn’t trying to do anything fancy Saturday.

“I was just wanting a nice, even round,” she said. “I was just trying to hang in there.”

Her strategy seemed to work just fine, finishing with a 39 on both sides of the turn. Martinson took nothing worse than a bogey anywhere and birdied both the 12th and 16th holes to grab the lead.

Going into the day, Martinson was hoping she hadn’t used up all her best shots for the week. Thursday, she finished with 76 playing at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, a course she lists as one of her favorites.

Martinson said she was pleased with her distance off the tee and her short game, which she said she’s worked on considerably this year, held up well enough to give her the edge over Ev Griggs heading into this morning’s play.

Griggs is the defending City champion, not to mention the most decorated player — man or woman — in local golf history. Griggs has collected a grand total of 18 City titles, including the 2008 title in which she held off a late charge from Martinson to win by two strokes.

Only Griggs, who finished with an 84 Saturday, and Lynne Taylor, who carded an 87, are within double-digit shots of Martinson. Ellen Stallings broke 90 Saturday, as well, in the women’s top flight.

“I felt like was always scrambling,” Griggs said of her opening round. “Nothing was coming easy (Saturday). I didn’t shoot myself in the foot, but I think I skinned part of it.”

While Griggs wasn’t happy with her approaches throughout Saturday’s round, her chipping made up for it. On five occasions Griggs’ chip shots went to within six inches of the cup to keep her within reasonable striking distance.

Griggs got off to a slow start, beginning her day on 14.

She went bogey, double-bogey, bogey, while Martinson, playing in the same group, started off bogey, birdie, par.

Taylor, who also started the day slowly, looked to be getting back into serious contention by shooting a 42 on the front side, but went 4-over on 10 and 11, her last two holes.

Martinson, meanwhile, said she’s probably not going to change her strategy much for today’s round.

“There was a couple of holes I could’ve done better, but I was protecting par,” she said. “I’m not an aggressive player around the greens…but it’s coming around pretty good.”