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Defending champ Dalton leads at Women's State Amateur with 68

Kendra Dalton lines up a putt in the 110th Utah Women's State Amateur Golf Tournament Finals at Victory Ranch in Kamas, Friday, Aug.  5, 2016.
Kendra Dalton lines up a putt in the 110th Utah Women's State Amateur Golf Tournament Finals at Victory Ranch in Kamas, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.
Hans Koepsell,

FRUIT HEIGHTS — Defending champion Kendra Dalton picked up where she left off a year ago as she took the first-round lead at the Women’s State Amateur by shooting a 3-under-par 68 Tuesday at Davis Park Golf Course

Dalton, a senior-to-be at BYU, birdied the final two holes to take a two-stroke margin over four other golfers, three-time champion Kelsey Chugg, BYU golfer Anna Kennedy, Utah Valley golfer Carly Dehlin and Ogden’s Xena Motes in the medal play portion of the tournament.

The women will play another round of stroke play Wednesday, and the low 16 players will advance to match play beginning Thursday. After two rounds of match play, the four remaining players will play semifinal and final matches on Friday.

Weber State golfer, Kiselya Plewe came in at even-par 71, while two golfers, Provo’s Naomi Soifua and former BYU golfer Annie Yang finished at 72.

Sadie Palmer, Laura Gerner and Dehlin all shot 73, while Jobi Einerson, Cristiana Ciasca and Tara Green all came in at 74. Golfers on the cut line in a tie for 16th at 75 include Gracie Richens and Masina Kaohelaulii.

Dalton, a native of North Carolina, who beat Lea Garner in last year’s State Am, played the front nine in 1 under par, and, after going birdie-bogey at 10 and 11, she made birdie-3s at 17 and 18.

Dehlin came on strong after a front nine 37 with birdies at 13 and 17 for a back nine 33. Chugg was hurt by a bogey-6 at No. 10, but had three birdies on the day. Motes got it to 2-under on the day before making bogey at No. 16.

Women’s State Amateur First Round

Davis Park Golf Course

Par-71

68 – Kendra Dalton

70 – Kelsey Chugg, Xena Motes, Anna Kennedy, Carly Dehlin

71 – Kiselya Plewe

72 – Annie Yang, Naomi Soifua

73 – Laura Gerner, Sadie Palmer, Sue Nyhus, Haylee Chugg

74 – Jobi Einerson, Cristiana Ciasca, Tara Green

75 – Gracie Richens, Masina Kaohelaulii

76 – Elizabeth Jones, Isabella Lesa, Cassandra Campos, Carly Savage

77 – Marissa Louder, Karen Valcarce, Kenna Crosland, Nicole Jones

78 – Julie McMullin, Dallas Christoffersen, Abbey Porter, Katelyn Day

79 – Allison Cluff, Zaria Thompson, Jamie Connell, Cora Mickelson

80 – Kyla Smith, Hannah Herman, McKaizlee Cowan