VASSALBORO — Kristen MacDonald says one of her strengths on a golf course is her ability to stay consistent.

If MacDonald posts two more rounds like the one she enjoyed Monday at Natanis Golf Course, she might just be the next New England Women’s Amateur champ.

MacDonald shot a 1-under par 71 to take the opening round lead at the tournament, which was played on an adjusted 5,506-yard Tomahawk Course.

“1-under is probably the best round I’ve had,” said MacDonald, 23, a 2011 Fairfield University graduate. “I was able to hit all the shots I wanted. I’ve had a couple of rounds where I was a few over before. I hit a lot of short irons today.”

MacDonald made three birdies — the par 3 7th, par 4 12th and par 3 13th.

The women are playing from the men’s tees on eight holes that added about 500 yards to the course.

MacDonald has a 1-shot lead over Alison Eleey, of Quincy, Mass.

Samantha Morrell, of North Kingstown, R.I., is third after shooting a 74.

Alexandra Schmidt and Jen Holland each shot a 75 to round out the top five.

“The course is a little quirky,” MacDonald said. “You have trees in the middle of fairways on some holes. You really have to execute your shots. I was able to do a lot of that today.”

Saco native Emily Bouchard, the defending Maine amateur champ, shot an 81. She had the best round out of the 24 Mainers who teed off Monday.

“It was a little bit of a disappointment,” she said. “I’m not real happy with how I played. I am definitely ready to get back out here and get some revenge.”

Bouchard was 2-over after the first nine before her round unraveled.

“I fell apart on the back nine,” she said. “The course was in great shape but it’s a challenge. I didn’t do a practice round and I wish I had. I expect to be a lot better (today). I can definitely post a lower score.”

Natanis member Dale Hannon shot a 90 while Liz Wiltshire was disqualified for signing a scorecard that was lower than her score.

Marie Cates, who plays out of the Waterville Country Club, shot a 90 while Natanis member Ashley Chubbuck finished with a 93. Jennifer Durant, who also plays out of Natanis, shot a 97.

MacDonald will tee off with Eleey and Morrell at noon in today’s second round. The event concludes Wednesday.

“I was expecting to put a score in the 70s,” MacDonald said. “But if you had told me I’d have shot a 76, I would’ve taken it. I’m a consistent golfer so hopefully I can go out there and do the same thing. I think anything in the low 70s will keep you around and give you shot on the last day.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.