DEAL, N.J. (Sept. 14, 2014) — Ellen Port, 52, of St. Louis, fired a 2-under-par 71 Sunday for a 36-hole total of 2-under 144 to earn stroke-play medalist honors at the 2014 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, held at the 6,109-yard, par-73 Hollywood Golf Club.
Port, the two-time defending U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion, bettered four players by nine shots and became the fifth player since 2002 to win medalist by three or more strokes.
“This game doesn’t owe you anything, you have to work for everything you get,” said Port, who went back to the basics in practice after missing the cut at this year U.S. Women’s Amateur. “The score (144) reflected the work and that doesn’t always happen.”
Port, who was a USGA medalist for the fifth time, previously accomplishing that feat at four U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs, birdied five of six holes, including four consecutively, on the outward nine. She flipped a wedge to within 6 inches at the par-5 10th, her second hole, to ignite the run. Port set up another birdie with a 5-wood approach at the 350-yard, par-4 11th and made putts of 8 and 18 feet, respectively, on the next two holes
“I negotiated the golf course well,” said Port, a six-time USGA champion with four U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs titles and two Senior Women’s Amateur victories to her credit. “I hit a lot of 5-woods off the tees, even though it would mean a longer approach shot.”
Port, who was pleased with her swing tempo throughout the two rounds of stroke-play qualifying, made a 10-foot downhill birdie putt at No. 15 and added her sixth birdie of the day at the par-5 seventh.
“[I am] finishing my backswing and not being so eager to hit the ball,” said Port, who captained the USA Curtis Cup Team to victory over Great Britain and Ireland earlier this year. “I have that type-a personality where I want to get to the ball too quick.”
The U.S. 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. 18, starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Brenda Pictor, who reached the semifinals in 2009 and quarterfinals in 2012, made seven pars and one birdie over her last eight holes for a hard-working 7-over 80 after sharing the first-round lead with Port. The 59-year-old from Marietta, Ga., tallied a two-round total of 153, tied for second place with three other players. She overcame four consecutive bogeys to finish the outward nine and made a triple bogey on the par-4 11th.
“I got it back together,” said Pictor, who set up her birdie on No. 14 by sticking a 120-yard, 9-iron approach shot to close range. “I was just playing defensively all day. Just thinking about stuff instead of just hitting the ball and letting it go.”
Andrea Kraus, 53, of Baltimore, Md., and Caryn Wilson, 53, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., each carded 2-over 75 in today’s second round to match their scores of 78 from yesterday. Kraus birdied two of the three par 5s on her inward nine, including hitting a 90-yard wedge to within 2 feet on No. 10 and making a 20-foot putt on No. 12. Wilson, who advanced to the Senior Women’s Amateur semifinals last year, made three birdies on her outward nine, including one on her finishing hole, the par-4 eighth.
“I was pretty relaxed out there,” said Kraus, who has reached the Round of 32 twice in this championship. “We have a whole field of really great players. I just want to qualify (for match play).”
Judith Kyrinis, 50, of Canada, joined the group at 153 with a second-round 76. Kyrinis, who is competing in her first Senior Women’s Amateur, made three birdies to counter a double bogey and four bogeys. Pamela Kuong, 53, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., was one shot behind with scores of 76 and 78.
Corey Weworski, a quarterfinalist at last year’s Senior Women’s Amateur, fired a 1-over 74 to rebound from a first-round 82 and tied for seventh. Weworski, the 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, hit 17 of 18 greens and made a pair of birdies.
“Getting there is the hardest part,” said Weworski about qualifying for match play. “After that, I find it fun. I love match play. That’s why I do well at it.”
Noreen Mohler, who has twice reached the championship’s quarterfinals, turned in the morning’s best round with a 2-over 75. Mohler, 58, of Bethlehem, Pa., followed a bogey with a birdie on three occasions.
“I didn’t let a bad shot get me down,” said Mohler, who shot a first-round 82. “I was thinking better today. I had a real good feel for the greens.”
Mohler made her first birdie on 353-yard, par-4 sixth by holing a 12-foot putt. She birdied both of the par 5s on the inward nine, including No. 16 when she struck an 8-iron to within 3 feet.
Liz Haines, 66, of Gladwyne, Pa., fired a 4-over 76 for a 36-hole score of 158 and safely moved on to match play for the first time in eight years. Haines, the 2004 Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up, sank a downhill 18-foot birdie putt on No. 18, her closing hole. Susan Cohn, last year’s runner-up, was one stroke behind Haines. The 51-year-old from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., advanced with rounds of 78 and 81.
Carole Semple Thompson, who has won four U.S. Senior Women’s Amateurs and seven USGA championships, overall, advanced to match play for the 16th consecutive year with rounds of 80 and 82. Thompson, 65, of Sewickley, Pa., was one of six past champions to make the cut.
“I just relied on my past skills,” said Thompson, who birdied the par-5 12th by sinking a 12-foot downhill putt. “I am just not playing as well, but it’s still well enough.”
In a rarity, the field of 132 players was trimmed to 64 for match play with no playoff necessary. The cut came at 21-over-par 167. Match play begins on Monday at 9 a.m. EDT.
The U.S. 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.