CAREFREE, Ariz. (Sept. 30, 2007)-- Dawn Woodard, 33, of Franklin, Tenn., earned U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur stroke-play medalist honors for the second consecutive year following Sunday’s second round at the 2007 championship, being played at the 6,208-yard, par-73 Desert Forest Golf Club.
Woodward, who followed her opening-round 3-under 70 with a 1-over 74, finished with three consecutive birdies to edge Virginia Derby Grimes, 43, of Meridian, Miss., by two strokes. Woodard and Grimes played together for the two rounds of stroke play.
Grimes, who was three strokes behind Woodard after the first round, took the lead after Woodard made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on her second nine holes. But Woodard got up-and-down from a bunker on the par-4 sixth hole, the 15th of her round and then started her finishing birdie parade.
“I felt like it was slipping away on the front nine,” said Woodard, who with her 36-hole total of 2-under 142 was the only competitor to finish under par. “I felt like, it’s not supposed to be this hard. But then I made that sand save for par, and I think that sort of righted the ship.”
Despite earning medalist honors for the second time, Woodard isn’t satisfied.
“I didn’t come here to be medalist,” said Woodard. “But from playing well the last two days, I take the confidence, knowing I can play well on this golf course.”
It was the second consecutive year Grimes finished second to Woodard in stroke-play qualifying. But she wasn’t disappointed with the outcome, choosing to focus on her consistent play for the championship’s first two days.
“I’m real pleased,” said Grimes, the 1998 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and a three-time USA Curtis Cupper. “I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and made a few birdies. You can always make a couple more but overall I’m very pleased with the way I’ve hit the ball and managed the greens.”
Tara Joy Connelly, 34, of Marshfield, Mass., shot even-par 73 Sunday to finish four strokes back. Connelly’s 73 was one of just six rounds under or at par in two rounds of stroke-play qualifying.
Another one of those even-par rounds was recorded Sunday by seven-time USGA champion Carol Semple Thompson, 58, of Sewickley, Pa., who made the Women’s Mid-Amateur match play cut for the 21st consecutive year.
Thompson recorded five birdies and five bogeys en route to her 73, eight strokes better than her first-round 81.
“My putting was better and I hit the ball straighter,” said Thompson, the 1990 and 1997 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. “I hit a couple of really squirrelly shots yesterday, and that’s dangerous to do on this golf course. It helps tremendously for my psyche to have hit the ball better today going into match play.”
Defending champion Meghan Bolger, 29, of Haddonfield, N.J., who is trying to become the first champion to win consecutive Women’s Mid-Amateur titles in more than 10 years, had two birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey on the difficult Desert Forest layout. Coupled with her opening-round 75, she finished with a two-day total of 6-over 152.
“I’m ready for the qualifying to be over and to start match play,” said Bolger. “I think the first two days for me is just really learning the golf course, how the course plays and learning the winds and knowing your yardage and trusting your shots into the hole.”
For Bolger, the general game plan remains the same – keep the ball out of the desert.
“You definitely have to keep it in play off the tee,” said Bolger. “I trusted my game off the tee a little bit more and I’ll need to even more so starting tomorrow.”
Toni Wiesner, 60, of Fort Worth, Texas, the other competitor to play in all 21 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs, followed an opening-round 76 with a 5-over 78 to advance to match play for the 20th time. Thuhashini Selvaratnam, 31, of Sri Lanka, the 2006 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur runner-up and a member at Desert Forest, also advanced after her second consecutive 6-over 79.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur continues with the first round of match play Monday. The second and third rounds will be played Tuesday and the quarterfinal and semifinal matches are on Wednesday. The championship concludes with the 18-hole final on Thursday.
--Story by Beth Murrison, USGA