U.S. Women's Mid-Am: Bolger's threepeat hope ends

ANN ARBOR Mich. (Sept. 9, 2008) – In a day of upsets, stroke-play medalist Wendi Patterson-Golden and two-time defending champion Meghan Bolger were eliminated Tuesday as eight players advanced to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Barton Hills Country Club, a 6,189-yard, par-72 Donald Ross design.

Patterson-Golden, 33, of Bradenton, Fla., won her second-round match in the morning, but fell to 2004 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion Carolyn Creekmore, 56, of Dallas, Texas, 1-up, in the third round.

Joining Creekmore, with two victories and a spot in the quarterfinals, are: 2007 quarterfinalist Joan Higgins, 52, of Glendora, Calif.; Corrie Tayman, 28, of Bethesda, Md., Lynne Cowan, 45, of Davis, Calif.; Mina Hardin, 48, of Fort Worth, Texas; Lynn Simmons, 40, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Noreen Mohler, 54, of Bethlehem, Pa.; and Michigan State women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, 37, of Haslett, Mich.

“We’ve had fiery, feisty matches before,” said Patterson-Golden of Creekmore. “We are made of the same breed. I might look like I am out there on a casual walk but I am grinding to the inner core. She beat me at my own game.”

Patterson-Golden, a high school golf coach, was vying to become the first medalist to win the championship since Ellen Port in 2000.

Creekmore birdied three of the first five holes and held a 2-up lead through nine holes. Patterson-Golden regained the lead by winning the 10th, 11th and 14th holes but a three-putt bogey on the par-3 16th squared the match.

At the par-4 18th, the medalist drove into the right rough and was blocked from reaching green by a stand of trees. She failed to reach the green in her next two shots and, Creekmore, playing in her 15th Women’s Mid-Amateur, two-putted for par and the win.

“I don’t think about expectations,” said Creekmore, who has reached the quarterfinals for the third time but the first since 1999. “I’m just glad I’m playing well when I need to be. You work hard every day and when it comes together when it’s supposed to, it’s a freakin’ miracle. But I believe in miracles.

In the morning’s second round, 2006 and 2007 champion Bolger, 30, of Oakland Park, Fla., lost to Lindsay Knowlton, 26, of Canada, 1-down. Bolger was attempting to become the third three-time winner of the championship.

“It was sluggish on my part in the beginning,” Bolger said. “I gave away a lot of shots out there on the greens, which is easy to do if you are not paying attention.”

Bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes by Bolger gave Knowlton, a golf equipment sales representative from Canada, a 1-up lead.

Hitting second on the par-4 18th, Bolger stuck her iron shot to seven feet after Knowlton had landed her 153-yard 6-iron five feet from the hole.

Bolger nailed her birdie but Knowlton drained her match-winning putt too.

“She is a solid player and everyone knew that it was in her favor that she was going to three-peat,” Knowlton said of Bolger. “I had one game plan and stuck to it. I was deep breathing on every shot and focused on my target and I found it. I made some clutch putts at the end.”

Cowan, a four-time California State Amateur champion (tied for most all-time), defeated Desiree Ting 3 & 1, then squeaked by Jamaica's Diane Lang 1-up in afternoon round.

Among the eliminated was two-time champion Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., who had advanced to match play for the 22nd consecutive year.

The championship continues with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Wednesday and concludes with the 18-hole final match, which is scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. EDT.

Quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2009 Women’s Mid-Amateur at Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club in Ocala, Fla., Oct. 3-8.

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.

--USGA story

Results For U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship
WinCAJoan HigginsGlendora, CA1000
Runner-upAZLynn SimmonsPhoeniz, AZ700
SemifinalsCALynne CowanDavis, CA500
SemifinalsPANoreen MohlerBethlehem, PA500
QuarterfinalsTXCarolyn CreekmoreDallas, TX400

View full results for U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur

The U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur originated in 1987 to provide a national competitive arena for amateurs 25 and older. Besides the age restriction, the event is open to those with a USGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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