Right-Left? Right: Lebanon’s Schmidt Looking at Target From Both Sides

  • Keegan Bradley signs autographs during the Travelers Championship golf tournament pro-am in Cromwell, Conn., Wednesday, June 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Woodstock — There isn’t a manager in big league baseball who doesn’t know the importance of a good righty-lefty combination. Lebanon golfer Colette Schmidt now has one in her bag.

Since the New England playing season started, Schmidt has been employing a left-handed stroke on the putting green even though she’s right-handed when it comes to her full swing. It’s the latest evolution for the recent Lebanon High graduate, who admits to having tried just about every putting style known to the game.

“I’ve done long putting left, long putting right, belly putters both ways and short putters both ways, but this one was a new strategy,” Schmidt explained last Thursday after playing in the Jeff Julian Cup high school all-star matches at Woodstock Country Club. “With my scoliosis, I come through really well right-handed, so I decided to try the left-handed forearm, and it really helps.”

Schmidt has been employing the new style for about two months, she said. The putter she uses isn’t as long as a belly putter, leaving her to line the shaft of the club along her right forearm and keeping her left hand high.

Schmidt said the idea came from her physical therapist father, Chris, with whom she’s often consulted about changes to her game. Schmidt had surgery to correct her scoliosis — an unnatural bending of the spine — when she was 11, but it still causes her to block her putts when she uses a right-handed putting stroke.

Schmidt, who is left-handed by nature, continues to take full swings right-handed without issue. “I generate enough speed and power,” she said.

So far, it’s working. The soon-to-be member of the University of Hartford women’s golf team shot a 4-over-par 75 to win the New England high school championship in a playoff last month at Keene’s Bretwood Golf Course. That added to a resume that includes two runner-up finishes in the NHIAA girls individual championships. She also was one of just two New Hampshire golfers to win their overall Julian Cup matches.

If she sticks to it, the new putting stroke may also help Schmidt well down the road. She admitted that the USGA’s recent decision to ban anchored putting strokes in the future also played a role in her latest change.

“I knew it wouldn’t affect me for the long run, but with collegiate golf and other stuff, long putting was like a temporary thing,” Schmidt said. “So I’m glad to be back to something I like.”

Bradley Back: The folks at Woodstock C.C. already have the notice out — favorite son Keegan Bradley is returning to town next month.

The one-time Woodstock Union High School golfer and three-time PGA Tour event winter will hold his second charity tournament at his former home course on Aug. 26, the Monday before the Deutsche Bank Championship outside of Boston. The Vermont Standard first reported the date last week.

Bradley came back to Woodstock last August for a fundraising tourney that netted more than $100,000 for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund to help families needing assistance from the effects of Tropical Storm Irene. It was Bradley’s first trip back to his old hometown since he left following his junior year in high school, when his golf professional father, Mark, took a job in Hopkinton, Mass.

Bradley skipped last weekend’s AT&T National and is scheduled to play in the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia this week. It’ll be his final tuneup before heading to Scotland for the British Open in mid-July.

Dogged at Dogwood: Hanover High and Dartmouth College graduate Peter Williamson cracked the top 10 at last week’s Dogwood Invitational in Atlanta, although he would finish well behind tournament winner Michael Johnson.

In his second high-level amateur competition of the summer, Williamson shot rounds of 71-70-67-69—277 to finish ninth out of the 90 golfers in the elite field. Johnson, a sophomore on the Auburn University men’s golf team, torched Druid Hills Golf Club for a 28-under-par 260 over four days, beating Georgia Tech junior Oliver Schniederjans by seven strokes.

“Not my best, but a fantastic week,” Williamson posted on his Twitter feed. “Got a few weeks off, excited to get back to work.”

Williamson is off until beginning the defense of last year’s Southern Amateur championship, which is scheduled for The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, on July 17-20. Williamson won the Southern Am last July in Arkansas. He also has an exemption into August’s U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., as a result of his top-50 slot in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (10th overall, sixth among Americans).

Chip Shots: The Upper Valley contingent at next week’s Vermont Amateur will be largely populated by former high school players. The group includes Hartford’s Mak Lyford (Quechee Club) and Zach Temple (J.P. Larkin), Hanover’s Nate Choukas and Benny Hayes (both Lake Morey) and South Royalton’s Cody McCullough (Montague). Grantham’s Evan Russell (Kimball Union Academy) is also in the field, playing out of the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury, as is Green Mountain National’s Garren Poirier, Woodstock’s Justin Maxham and Lake Morey’s Chris Taylor. The three-day, 72-hole stroke-play tourney begins Tuesday at the Country Club of Barre. … The New Hampshire Amateur kicks off two days of stroke-play qualifying on Monday at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham. The contingent will include Carter’s Andy Hunnewell; Newport’s Matthew and Michael Killam; Hanover’s Tyler Silver, Zach Pollard, Vince Kimball, Joe Toland and Nathan Roth; Blackmount’s Steve Schultz; CCNH’s Charles McNeeley; and Eastman’s Thomas Ellis III. The field of 96 will play two stroke-play rounds before being cut to 64 for up to four days of matches. … Grantham’s Lisanne Schmidt, Colette’s eldest sister, will play in the Symetra Tour’s stop at Concord’s Beaver Meadow Golf Course later this month. Schmidt finished second to Massachusetts teenager Isabel Southard in a one-day qualifier at the Beav on June 10 to earn a sponsor’s exemption into the field of the LPGA Tour feeder event. The Northeast Delta Dental New Hampshire Invitational is scheduled for July 19-21.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.