DEAL, N.J. (Sept. 16, 2014) — Susan West (pictured), 50, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., won two matches, including a win over last year’s runner-up, to advance to the quarterfinals and stroke-play medalist and two-time defending champion Ellen Port, 52, of St. Louis, was ousted Tuesday at the 2014 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, held at the 6,109-yard, par-73 Hollywood Golf Club.
Port, who was attempting to become the first medalist to win the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur since 2002, was upended in the morning’s Round of 32 by Martha Leach, 3 and 2. The two competitors had not met since Port’s victory in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur final. Meanwhile, West defeated Susan Cohn, 51, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 2 and 1, earlier in the day, before holding off Leach, 1 up, in a third-round match.
“I had a good morning and I grinded it out in the rain,” said West, who is competing in this championship for the first time. “This afternoon, I played as solid a round of golf as I have in a long time.”
Leach, whose sister, Hollis Stacy, won three U.S. Women’s Open Championships, squared her match with West by making a birdie at the par-5 10th. But the former tennis player and U.S. Clay Court doubles champion won four consecutive holes, all with pars, to take a 3-up lead. Leach, 52, of Hebron, Ky., made a late comeback bid when she sank a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and won No. 17 with a bogey. West wrapped up the win with a two-putt par and Leach’s missed 16-foot birdie attempt on the finishing hole.
The U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship continues with the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Wednesday. The championship concludes with an 18-hole final on Thursday, Sept. 18, starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Against Port, Leach leaped to a 2-up lead after three holes and never trailed. Port bogeyed the first hole when she three-putted. Leach, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, escaped trouble to halve No. 2 with a par after hitting a wayward tee shot and proceeded to make a downhill 40-foot birdie putt on the par-4 third.
Port, who owned a 13-0 match-play record in this championship and 80 career USGA wins prior to her meeting with Leach, trailed by as many as three holes but closed the gap to 1 down with a par on No. 8 and a birdie on No. 10. However, Port bogeyed the par-4 14th when she hit her tee shot into the right rough and had to play her third from inside a hazard in front of the green.
“She played better than me,” said Port, who is tied for fourth among women with six USGA championship wins. “Her short game was better, her putting was better and she recovered better. I made more mistakes than Martha and that’s the bottom line.”
Terri Frohnmayer, the 2011 Senior Women’s Amateur champion, turned in an impressive performance when she stunned Patricia Brogden, 60, of Garner, N.C., in the Round of 16 by draining a 38-foot, left-to-right birdie putt on No. 18 for a dramatic 1-up victory. She earlier posted a 2-and-1 triumph over second-seeded Caryn Wilson, 53, of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Frohnmayer, 58, of Salem, Ore., won three of the first six holes and kept last year’s semifinalist at arm’s length with her prowess on the greens.
Judith Kyrinis, 50, of Canada, is the highest remaining seed in the match-play bracket. Kyrinis, the No. 3 seed, edged Lisa Anderson, 50, of Middleton, Mass., 1 up, in the Round of 32 and routed Lisa Algiero, 54, of White Plains, N.Y., later in the day.
“We all have the expectation that we can win it (the championship) or we wouldn’t come here,” said Kyrinis, who is playing in her first Senior Women’s Amateur and works as a registered nurse for a Toronto hospital. “[I] came out with a little different mindset today, struck the ball well and made some really nice putts. The second match, I just didn’t give her any chance to get into it.”
Joan Higgins, 58, of Glendora, Calif., advanced to the Senior Women’s Amateur quarterfinals for the fourth time. She topped fourth-seeded Andrea Kraus, 3 and 1, in the third round and earlier defeated Joanne Kitusky, 53, of Glen Allen, Va., 3 and 2.
Higgins took the lead for good against Kraus, 53, of Baltimore, Md., on No. 14 with par and made an uphill 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th for a 2-up advantage. Kraus, who rallied from 3 down with five holes to play in her second-round match, conceded Higgins’ par putt on No. 17 when she was faced with making a 45-footer to halve the hole.
“A lot of luck and a lot of 4- and 5-foot putts,” said Higgins, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur winner, about what it takes to win a USGA championship. “You have to make them. Otherwise, you are just giving holes back to people.”
Two past champions tangled in the Round of 16. Mina Hardin, the 2010 winner, knocked off Sherry Herman, who won the 2009 championship, 4 and 3. Hardin, 54, of Mexico, led all the way in the battle for a spot in the quarterfinals. Hardin won the match’s final three holes, with two pars and a birdie, against Herman, 56, of Jackson, N.J.
Helene Chartrand, 58, of Canada, and Kareen Markle, 52, of Meridan, Idaho, each advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time. Chartrand won this year’s Canadian Women’s Senior Amateur crown, while Markle, who won her second-round match by concession when her opponent suffered a wrist injury, is making her second U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur appearance.
Kim Eaton, 55, of Tempe, Ariz., reached the quarterfinals for the third time after surviving a topsy-turvy match with past Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski, 52, of Carlsbad, Calif. Weworski rallied from 3 down on the inward nine to grab a 1-up lead after 17 holes. Eaton, a retired police officer, responded by winning No. 18 and then chipped from the first cut of rough near a bunker to within 12 inches for the deciding par on the first extra hole.
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.