ANN ARBOR Mich. (Sept. 8, 2008) – Medalist Wendi Patterson-Golden of Bradenton, Fla., and 2006 and 2007 champion Meghan Bolger of Oakland Park, Fla., each won easily Monday in the first round of match play at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Barton Hills Country Club.
Patterson-Golden, a 33-year-old mother and high school golf coach, won her first three holes, including the first two with birdies, and never trailed in defeating Janet Frey of North Canton, Ohio, 7 & 6.
"I will take it,” Patterson-Golden said. “It was kind of what I wanted to do, get the match done. I played the last six holes so I wouldn’t feel out of touch with the course tomorrow. I was pleased with today’s performance. I got out of the gate – birdie, birdie. And that’s important to close doors before they can be opened.”
Patterson-Golden registered three birdies and one bogey in the 12 holes of her match on the 6,189-yard, par-72 Donald Ross-designed course.
She is riding a wave of confidence after learning the intricacies of the undulating greens of Barton Hills Country Club from club member and local dentist Dr. Frank Gordon during practice and stroke-play rounds. Gordon, however, is back to work this week and Patterson-Golden needed a caddie. The new caddie is Brian White, son of Barton Hills professional Doug White.
"He was great with distances and reads,” said Patterson-Golden. “One time he even stopped me from doing something stupid. That was good. I liked that.”
Patterson-Golden is vying to become the first medalist to win the championship since Ellen Port in 2000.
Bolger, 30, lost the first hole, but then captured five of the next six to cruise to a 5 & 4 win over 2003 finalist Shannon Ogg of Columbia, Md.
Bolger is now 13-0 in match play at the Women’s Mid-Amateur but was not worried about being a ‘target’ as a two-time champion.
"Everyone’s got a little pressure on them,” Bolger said. “Everyone has their own sort of pressure that either they or someone else puts on them. I just have to worry about myself.”
Also advancing were 2002 winner, Kathy Hartwiger of Birmingham, Ala., and two-time winner Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., who now owns 55 match-play victories in 22 years.
"Have I made match play every year?,” said Thompson who has done so in every year of the championship. “I think it’s kind of nice. I love this championship. I’m really thrilled that I qualified for it. I didn’t want to miss one…yet. It will happen but not yet.”
Among those eliminated were 2005 champion Mary Ann Lapointe of Canada, 1998 winner Virginia Derby Grimes of Meridian, Miss., and 2004 titlist Corey Weworski.
Other notable players who advanced to the second round were Michigan State women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll of Haslett, Mich., and a trio of USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champions -- Carolyn Creekmore of Dallas, Texas; Anna Schultz of Rockwall, Texas and Diane Lang of Jamaica.
The championship continues with the second and third rounds of match play on Tuesday, the quarterfinals and semifinals on Wednesday and concludes with the 18-hole final match, which is scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. Eastern.
The Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
--Story written by Pete Kowalski, USGA