VASSALBORO — Kristen Macdonald lost her game and the lead with consecutive double bogeys in an eventful back nine Wednesday during the final round of the 56th New England Women’s Amateur at Natanis Golf Course.

However, the 23-year-old golfer from Billerica, Mass., didn’t lose her composure.

“I didn’t get nervous,” Macdonald said. “I knew I wasn’t down. I knew if I played my game, stuck to my game, I would be OK.”

She was.

Macdonald shot a 4-over par 76 and finished with 222 three-day total to win the New England Women’s Amateur on the 5,506-yard Tomahawk Course.

Macdonald fended off a late charge from Sam Morrell, 21, of North Kingstown, R.I.

Morrell finished one shot behind.

Defending New England Women’s Amateur champ Pam Kuong finished third at 231. Jen Holland and Katie Partridge each shot a 235 to round out the top five.

Saco native Emily Bouchard, the defending Maine Amateur champ, shot an 84 and led all Maine golfers with a 243.

Marie Cates (259), Dale Hannon (263), Ashley Chubbuck (281) and Jennifer Durant (285) led the Natanis contingent.

Connecticut won the team title with a score of 648. The first gross, first net and second net were totaled each day from all six New England states. Maine finished fourth with a 659.<p>But this day belonged to Macdonald, who held the lead from the opening round.

“It’s the biggest tournament win I’ve had,” said Macdonald, who graduated from Fairfield University in 2011. “I’ve been playing this tournament since 2006, and to come here and play my best and come out on top, it feels really, really good.

“I knew everyone was chasing me but as long as I played my game I knew I could do it.”

It wasn’t easy.

Macdonald, who entered the final round with a three-shot lead over Morrell, played the front nine even.

Morrell, who won this tournament in 2010, was 2-over par 38 and faced a five-shot deficit at the turn.

“I knew I had to chip away,” she said, “and I did.”

The turning point came on the 163-yard, par-3 13th.

Macdonald three-putted for a double bogey after her tee shot went too far left. Morrell, meanwhile, saved par with a nice up-and-down.

“I whacked it all over the place on that hole,” Macdonald said.

On the ensuing hole, the par 5 14th, Macdonald again got into trouble. She took a drop and a one-stroke penalty after she hit her ball into the woods off to the left of the fairway.

Again, she settled for a double bogey.

Morrell capitalized on the misfortune when she buried a 15-foot birdie putt that erased Macdonald’s lead.

“I made a great run,” Morrell said. “I got it down to two shots and then I got even. I had some momentum.”

But she never grabbed the lead.<p>Macdonald grabbed the lead for good when she parred the par 4 16th while Morrell missed a short putt for par and settled for a bogey.

“All I wanted to do after that was go par-par, and I did,” Macdonald. “I made a nice up-and-down on 17 and closed it out with a par.”

Macdonald had just one birdie, which came on the par 4 second hole. After a bogey on the par-3 fourth, she stayed consistent with consecutive pars until her round nearly came unglued on the 13th.

“I tried to just stay consistent,” Macdonald said. “I think I did that.”

Added Morrell: “I thought I had a chance. I think I just got too excited. I couldn’t go for it on the 15th and there was no excuse for not making par on 16. I made it a good run, but it just wasn’t enough.”

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