ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Julia Potter, 25, of Granger, Ind., notched a pair of hard-fought victories on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at the par-71 Biltmore Forest Country Club.
Potter trailed, 2 down, after two holes in her morning match with Marilyn Hardy, of Houston, but was able to draw even by the seventh hole. She won three consecutive holes on the inward nine to take control of the match and advance to the afternoon’s Round of 16.
Conversely, Potter was 5 up after five holes in her third-round match with fellow 25-year-old Kate Hildahl, of Tualatin, Ore. Her newfound success on the outward nine – Potter had not held a lead prior to making the turn in her two previous matches – did creep into the back of her mind.
“I honestly started thinking about it. Man, I'm starting off on fire on that front side,” said Potter, who is trying to become the first stroke-play medalist since Ellen Port in 2000 to win the championship. “Mind you, I felt like I had something to prove on that side and I did.”
Hildahl pulled back into the match on the inward nine, cutting the lead to 2 up with birdies at the par-4 14th and 16th. Potter then found water off the tee at the par-4 17th and made bogey, allowing Hildahl to pull within one hole with one to play.
“I still made it an interesting hole, but I couldn't believe I hit it in the water,” said Potter, who secured the 1-up victory when the players swapped pars at the par-4 18th.
Potter will face Tara Joy-Connelly in Wednesday morning’s quarterfinal round. Joy-Connelly, 40, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., dispatched 2007 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion Anna Schultz, 5 and 3, to reach the quarterfinals.
Four-time and defending Meghan Stasi needed every bit of veteran magic to pull out a comeback 1-up victory in the Round of 16. The 35-year-old from Oakland Park, Fla., dropped the first three holes to Renata Young, 32, of Walnut Creek, Calif., for her first deficit of the championship.
“You can't three-putt and think you're going to win every match,” said Stasi, who could join Joanne Gunderson Carner, Carolyn Cudone, Bob Jones and Glenna Collett Vare as the only golfers to win the same USGA championship at least five times. “I had to come back and make some birdies and I did.”
Young bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11 to drop to a 1-up advantage, and Stasi squared the match with a 30-footer for birdie at the par-4 12th. She took her first lead when Young three-putted the par-4 17th for bogey, and Stasi took the victory when Young’s 10-foot par attempt at No. 18 went past the hole.
“We played a practice round together so I knew she was a strong player,” said Stasi, who reached the third round with a 5-and-4 win Tuesday morning over Amy Loughney. “She fought all the way around. It was a fun match – a tough match, but a fun match.”
Third-seeded Margaret Shirley, 27, of Roswell, Ga., needed 19 holes to eliminate Biltmore Forest member Debbie Adams in the twilight. Shirley, who reached the third round with a 4-and-3 win over Tara Fleming, will next face Andrea Kraus, of Baltimore, who ousted 2004 Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski, 6 and 5.Adams’ fellow BFCC member, two-time USA Curtis Cup Team player Brenda Corrie Kuehn, fell 3 and 2 to Linda Jeffery, of Abilene, Texas, in the Round of 32.Martha Leach, who captured the 2009 Women’s Mid-Amateur, reached the quarterfinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Christina Proteau. The 51-year-old from Hebron, Ky., next meets another Canadian, Stefi Markovich, who took a 19-hole victory over Kay Daniel, of Covington, La.
One Round of 16 match was suspended due to darkness and will resume at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Laura Coble, of Augusta, Ga., holds a 1-up lead over Jeffery through 16 holes. The winner will face Stasi on Wednesday morning.The quarterfinalists all receive exemptions into the 2014 Women’s Mid-Amateur, which will be conducted Sept. 6-11 at Harbour Trees Golf Club in Noblesville, Ind.
For the fourth consecutive day, morning play was delayed. Matches began after a 70-minute fog delay.
The 2013 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship is open to female amateur golfers who have reached their 25th birthday by Oct. 5. It 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.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.