Japan's Khaiat leads USGA Women's Sr.
SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Akemi Khaiat, 50, of Japan, carded an even-par 72 Saturday to hold a one-stroke lead after the first day of stroke- play qualifying at the 52nd USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at CordeValle.

Khaiat, who lives in Los Angeles and holds Japanese citizenship, just returned from an amateur competition in her native land, too late for a practice round for the Senior Women’s Amateur.

“This week I had to go to Japan for the State Senior Am so I had no expectations,” said Khaiat, who is a seven-time club champion at Riviera Country Club. “I just listened to my caddie and I did what he said. But, one month ago, I came here to practice with my son.”

Khaiat, who is playing in her first USGA Senior Women’s Amateur and is married to a volunteer Rules of Golf official, posted five birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey. She was the runner-up at the Japan Senior Women’s Golf Championship in June.

“My putting was excellent,” said Khaiat, a property investor in her business life. “I will do the same thing tomorrow and go target to target, which is very important here. I have had a long golf career but this is like anything you can ask for.”

Past champion Sherry Herman, 55, of Holmdel, N.J., and Liz Waynick, 53, of Scottsdale, Ariz., trailed Khaiat by one stroke with 1-over- par 73s.

None of the 132 players broke par at the 5,996-yard, par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout, the first time since 2010 at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla., that no player bettered par in the first round of stroke play. A heavy morning mist turned to rain in the early afternoon, but subsided as the afternoon wave of play began. Wind and thick rough contributed to the difficult scoring conditions.

Herman, the 2009 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion, birdied her final two holes, the par-4 eighth and ninth. Oddly, it only rained during her round on those two holes.

“I just play with a different attitude now,” Herman said of her confidence since winning a national title. “I wouldn’t say I was desperate to win but I wanted to win a USGA championship. It was one of my lifetime goals. Now I have that behind me and I can freewheel it a little. I don’t feel nervous. I’m out there playing and just enjoying it.”

Herman, a senior sales director with a husband and two grown daughters, has played in nearly 30 USGA competitions.

“I didn’t even know what I shot when I got done,” said Herman, who was a semifinalist at the 1994 and 2001 U.S. Women’s Mid- Amateurs. “On my first putts, I did not have the speed down well, but my second putts – no matter how far away I was – I was making them.”

She credited her consistency to hitting fairways and greens in regulation, albeit none very close.

“I was never near the hole today,” she said. “The pins did not know I was in town. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens in regulation. I might have missed two or three greens.”

Waynick, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur runner-up who started on No. 10, was 4-over par after her first three holes. However, she steadied herself and played the final 15 holes in 3-under with birdies on the 14th, 17th and sixth holes.

“I hit my irons really well and had a lot of birdie opportunities but I had hiccups early in the round,” Waynick said.

Two strokes behind Khaiat at 74 were 2010 champion Mina Hardin, 53, of Fort Worth, Texas; Helene Maxe, 52, of Sweden; Caryn Wilson, 52, of Rancho Mirage, Calif.; and Kim Eaton, 54, of Tempe, Ariz.

Lisa Schlesinger, of Laytonsville, Md., stroke- play medalist in 2011 and 2012, and Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, Fla., posted 3-over par 75s.

Terri Frohnmayer, 57, of Salem, Ore., the 2011 champion, carded a 77.

Defending champion Ellen Port, of St. Louis, who celebrated her 52nd birthday on Saturday, shot 80. Her up-and-down round began with three consecutive birdies and an outward 34, but she followed it with a 46 on her second nine. She was penalized two strokes when her caddie accepted transportation. At the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, caddies must walk at all times.

The 2013 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday, Sept. 26, starting at 8 a.m. (PDT). The field will be trimmed from 132 to 64 for the start of match play on Monday.

The USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, for players 50 years or older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

ABOUT THE U.S. Senior Women's Amateur

The USGA Senior Women's Amateur is open to female golfers with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 18.4, who will have reached their 50th birthday on or before the first day of the championship. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

View Complete Tournament Information

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92011

Facebook Twitter YouTube