West Point, Miss. (Oct 23, 2006) -– Medalist Dawn Woodard of Franklin, Tenn., 1998 champion Virginia Derby Grimes of Meridian, Miss., and two-time champion Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., advanced to the second round of match play in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at the 6,151-yard, par72 course at Old Waverly Golf Club on Monday.
Woodard, 32, defeated Leslie Folsom of Seattle, Wash., 5 and 4. On the par-4 14th hole, Woodard hit a wedge approach from 95 yards to within three feet of the flagstick and closed out the match when she made the birdie putt.
“It was my only birdie of the day,” said Woodard, “but when I was 3 up I knew if I kept making pars I wasn’t going to lose.”
Grimes, 43, easily defeated Barbara Byrnes, 52, of Mesa, Ariz., 7 and 5. Grimes, a 2006 USA Curtis Cup player, won the eighth through 11th holes with pars to go 6 up. She closed out the match with a birdie at 13.
Thompson, who won in 1990 and 1997, had a narrow escape in her match with Nancy Fitzgerald, 63, of Carmel, Ind. Fitzgerald is the 1997 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion.
Thompson, who captained the winning 2006 Curtis Cup team, didn’t lead until her par captured the 13th hole. She won the 14th hole with a par to go 2 up but Fitzgerald won the 17th with a par 3 to pull within one hole. Both players bogeyed the challenging 380-yard 18th hole, Thompson making a 4-foot putt to win, 1 up.
Three-time champion Ellen Port, 45, of St. Louis, Mo., narrowly won her match against Donna Gonsalves, 46, of Bluffton, S.C., 1 up.
Port, one of only two players to break par in stroke-play qualifying, took a 3-up lead on the front nine, then watched it trickle away as Gonsalves’ game caught fire. After winning the 10th hole with a par, Gonsalves birdied the 13th, 15th and 16th holes to take a 1-up lead. On the par-3 17th, Port fired a 5-iron tee shot to within 8 feet of the hole and made the birdie putt to square the match. Her cautious bogey on the 18th won the hole and the match, 1 up.
“I tried to play it one shot at a time and not get ahead of myself,” said Port, the Women’s Mid-Amateur champion in 1995, ’96 and 2000. “I was calm all the way around.”
Robin Burke, 44, of Houston, Texas, a semifinalist last year, defeated Claudia Pilot, 49, of Austin, Minn., 3 and 2. Burke birdied the 331-yard, par-4 sixth to go 2 up but her double-bogey 6 on the eighth and bogey-6 on the 10th squared the match.
Burke regained her 2-up lead when she won the 12th with a birdie and the 13th with a par, and then closed out the match when she won 16 with a par.
Local favorite Cissye Gallagher of Greenwood, Miss., was defeated by Joan Higgins of Glendora, Calif., 1 up. Gallagher is a member at Old Waverly.
The 2005 and ’06 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion, Diane Lang, 51, of Weston, Fla., advanced to the second round by defeating Mollie Murphy of St. Louis, Mo., 1 up.
In Tuesday’s second round, Woodward takes on Marilyn Hardy of Houston, Texas. Thompson will play Marianne Towersey of Pebble Beach, Calif. Port goes against Lori Planos of Lahaina, Hawaii. Planos, as Lori Castillo, won the 1978 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links title in 1979 and 1980.
Grimes faces Lisa Smego of Olympia, Wash. Burke will play Rheba Mabie of Boulder Junction, Wisc. Lang goes against Mari Miezwa of Brooklyn Park, Minn.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, for women amateurs age 25 and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association. Ten are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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