TULSA, Ok. (Sept. 18, 2008) – Ten years ago, Anna Schultz was intrigued by the thought of being good enough to enter the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
Since then, the 53-year-old Dallas, Texas, resident has twice been a USGA runner-up and a Senior Women’s Amateur champion.
Schultz won the 2007 Senior Women’s title on the 20th hole of the scheduled 18-hole final at Sunriver Resort’s Meadows Course in central Oregon after letting a 3-up lead slip away over the final holes of regulation against Australian-born Robyn Puckett of Irvine, Calif.
"I just told myself I wasn’t going home without that trophy," said Schultz, who made par on the second extra hole to win. "And then when it happens, you are so relieved. I thought I’d never get another chance. It’s the most special thing that can happen for an amateur golfer. I had that trophy right there where I could look at it every day."
Schultz deserved to take the trophy home after playing six matches without ever facing a deficit.
"The key is getting off to a good start but always having a mindset that you are three down," said Schultz, a certified public accountant (CPA) by trade with three grown boys, all of whom are excellent golfers.
Just a year earlier, Schultz reached the final match against defending champion Diane Lang of Jamaica at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course in St. Simons Island, Ga., only to lose on the 18th hole.
But on the day of the final, Schultz had another important appointment back in Texas. She was due in court to finalize the divorce to her husband of 26 years.
"I just called my lawyer and told him to give him whatever he wants because I’m not coming home," said Schultz. "It was a calm place to be. Golf has helped me in so many ways, and I have so many friends because of it."
A veteran of 19 USGA championships, the gregarious Schultz is one of the pre-championship favorites for the 2008 Senior Women’s Amateur that commences at Tulsa Country Club Sept. 20-26. The club is among the oldest in a city that has been host to all five women’s amateur championships. It’s an A.W. Tillinghast gem that previously hosted the 1960 U.S. Women’s Amateur, won by JoAnne Gunderson (Carner).
"You’ll have to work the ball on this course," said Schultz. "It’s a challenging course of risk and reward."
Schultz is looking forward to again testing her game against the top names in senior women’s amateur golf, including past multiple winners Marlene Streit of Canada and Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., both of whom are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Thompson, a seven-time USGA champion, will be inducted in November.
Schultz has fond memories of the day she beat Semple Thompson, 1 up, in the third round of the 2000 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif., on her way to a runner-up finish to Ellen Port.
"I didn’t realize what I had done until someone told me, ‘You just beat Carol Semple Thompson,’ " said Schultz. "I thought I was going to faint."
Her toughest competition in 2008 just might come from the rookies, those competitors who just turned 50. But Schultz is ready to challenge the field, which consists of 132 players.
"I think I’m a better player now than five years ago," said Schultz. "I hit it better and I think better. Age really doesn’t mean anything to me."
--Courtesy Craig Smith, USGA