Local girl in the mix at NCAAs

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The second ball in the air this morning for the first round of the NCAA Championship was struck by local girl Stephanie Connelly. The Central Florida senior, who just graduated two weeks ago, grew up about 40 minutes from Caves Valley in Pasadena, Md., and had a sizable gallery on the first tee that included family and friends.

“It’s the most people that have watched me play since I was 15,” Connelly said, laughing.

They saw some good golf. Connelly made four birdies, three of which came from within 5 feet, en route to an even-par 72. She was tied for sixth with the afternoon wave still on the course.

“I was a little anxious because everyone was here and I wanted to do well,” she said.

Connelly has been on a high the past few weeks. She closed 68-69 to finish second at the East Regional to advance to the national championship as an individual, then moved back into her parents’ house.

She’s been busy seeing friends and practicing for the national championship since. And in a few weeks, she’ll start her professional career on the Duramed Futures Tour.

“Not a bad life lately,” she said.

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