ORONO — Defending champion Kristin Kannegieser will tee off in the first group at the Women’s Maine State Golf Association championships, which start at 7:30 a.m. Monday at the Penobscot Country Club.

Kannegieser of Martindale won her second WMSGA title last year, at the Bath Country Club. She also won the title in 2007.

The tournament will be played Monday through Wednesday and features 54 holes of stroke play.

Last year, Kannegieser held off Debby Gardner on the final day. Gardner trailed by five shots entering the final round, but rallied within two with three holes to play. Kannegieser finished the third round with a 76 to hold onto the lead.

Gardner won three WMSGA titles in the 1970s.

Also in the first group with Kannegieser will be four-time WMSGA Jr. champion Whitney Hand of Bucksport and Ann Probert of Waterville.

Others in contention for this year’s Maine Amateur include six-time winner Pennie Cummings of Springbrook, who won her first title in 1964 and her last in 2006

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Alexa Rancourt, a two-time Women’s Maine State Golf Association Champion, will play in the United States Women’s Amateur Championship in Barrington, R.I. starting Monday.

Rancourt of Portland earned her way into the tournament by shooting at 73 at the Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek Course in Roswell, Ga. A junior at Furman University, Rancourt earned one of eight spots in the U.S. amateur available at the qualifier by finishing with the fourth best score.

Lauren Stratton of Spring Hill, Tenn., shot the best round at the qualifier, with a 70. Ket Preachuen of Kennesaw, Ga. was second with a 71 and Hannah Collier of Birmingham, Ala. was third at 72.

The U.S. Women’s Amateur starts with 36 holes of stroke play on Monday and Tuesday. The top 64 players after the second day advance to match play. The match play rounds will be televised on The Golf Channel.

Rancourt won the WMSGA title in 2008 and 2009.

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