SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Defending champion Ellen Port, 52, of St. Louis, won two matches Tuesday to lead a group of eight players into the quarterfinals of the 52nd USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at CordeValle.
Port, a high school teacher and coach who has won five USGA championships, won three of the first four holes Tuesday afternoon and defeated Lisa McGill, 54, of Philadelphia, 6 and 5, in the third round at the 5,996-yard, par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. course.
In Tuesday morning’s second round, McGill, a semifinalist at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, outlasted Akemi Khaiat, of Japan, the No.1 seed from stroke-play qualifying, 1 up, to earn a match with Port.
“I hit a lot of good shots,” said Port of her third-round win over McGill. “I was steady. The key was when it looked like I was in trouble on 10. I had a delicate chip and I pulled off the shot and made the putt for a half. That kind of calmed me down because you don’t like to see your lead go away.”
Port, the 2014 USA Curtis Cup captain who is playing in her second USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, is now 9-0 in match play in the championship.
“I feel like my irons are very flush,” Port said. “I’ve got great ball/turf contact and distances have been consistent.”
Port, who won the 2012 championship at Hershey (Pa.) Country Club, defeated Patty Moore, 63, of Charlotte, N.C., 4 and 3, in the second round.
The USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, for players 50 years and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Typically, the wind picks up in the afternoon at CordeValle and it gusted to more than 15 miles an hour for the third-round matches.
“It’s a new day and you have to go with what shows up,” said Port of advancing to the quarterfinals. “I feel confident. The players that are here are great. And, I love windy conditions. I am able to knock some shots down and I think I managed the wind better this afternoon.”
One past champion joined Port in the quarterfinal round. Mina Hardin, 53, of Fort Worth, Texas, the 2010 winner, advanced with a 7-and-5 decision over Karen Ferree, of Hilton Head, S.C.
Susan Cohn, 50, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., narrowly defeated Sherry Herman, 55, of Holmdel, N.J., who was the champion in 2009, in 19 holes.
In a match of U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions, Corey Weworski, 51, of Carlsbad, Calif., the 2004 winner, defeated Martha Leach, 51, of Hebron, Ky., the 2009 victor, 4 and 3.
With a 1-up lead through 12 holes, Weworski won three consecutive holes to win the match.
Mary Jane Hiestand, 54, of Naples, Fla., topped 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur winner Mary Ann Hayward, 1 up, for her second appearance in the quarterfinals.
The other quarterfinalists are: Marilyn Hardy, 52, of Houston, Texas; Liz Waynick, 53, of Scottsdale, Ariz., the runner-up at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur; and Caryn Wilson, 52, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., a former professional golfer and tennis player.
The only two Northern California players remaining were both eliminated in the morning’s second round. Lynne Cowan, 50, of Rocklin, a golf sales representative who attended San Jose State, lost to Tanna Richard, 56, of Fort Smith, Ark., 2 and 1. Marianne Towersey, 62, of Pebble Beach was defeated by Cohn, 2 and 1.
Quarterfinal and semifinal rounds are set for Wednesday. All quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2014 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, to be played Sept. 13-18 at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J.
The championship is scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday, Sept. 26, starting at 8 a.m. (PDT).