Ocala, Fla. – Mina Hardin of Fort Worth, Texas, Laura Ladden of Coatesville, Pa., Jennifer Lucas of Knoxville, Tenn., and Meghan Stasi of Oakland Park, Fla., co-medalists in stroke-play qualifying, advanced Monday to the second round of match play at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at the 6,173-yard, par-72 Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club.
Hardin, 49, defeated Tama Caldabaugh, 45, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 6 and 5. Caldabaugh won the first hole with a birdie to take a 1-up lead, but Hardin squared the match at the second hole with an 8-foot birdie putt and never trailed again. She closed out the match on the 13th green.
“I didn’t even know it was over,” Hardin said. “Tama probably thought I was very rude because I was walking to the 14th tee when my caddie told me I had won.”
Ladden, 33, defeated Reana Yun, 25, of Glendale, Calif., 3 and 1.
“It was a struggle today,” said Ladden. “I’m going to practice and I’ll spend some time putting. I’ll definitely be trying to fix some of the kinks.”
Ladden struggled on the par-5 holes, making bogeys on three of the four and losing two of those holes to Yun’s pars. The match ended on the 17th green.
Lucas, 28, struggled through the first seven holes of her match against Annette Gaiotti, 56, of Holladay, Utah. While she was 3 up after the sixth, Lucas made a double bogey from the middle of the seventh fairway to see her advantage shrink to two holes.
Her caddie-husband, Ryan Lucas, said: “Get your head in the game. Quit playing not to lose and start playing to win.”
“I knew he was right,” said Lucas. “I knew I had to focus and started to play solid golf.”
Lucas closed out the match on the 14th hole, 5 and 4.
Also advancing was Stasi, 31, the 2006 and 2007 champion, who defeated Maggie Weder, 51, of Greenville, N.C., 5 and 3. Stasi took the lead at the second hole and was 4 up after nine. A birdie at the 15th hole ended the match.
Defending champion Joan Higgins, 53, of Glendora, Calif., once again used an excellent short game to defeat a longer hitting opponent, Lynette Duran, 27, of Lakewood, Colo., 3 and 2.
“These tight lies are tough on me because I sweep the ball more than hitting down on it,” Higgins said. “My short game saved me.”
Higgins saved a halve at the par-4 10th hole when she chipped to within 2 inches of the hole after missing the green. At the 11th, a 145-yard par 3 with a deceptively fast green, Higgins got down in two putts from 15 feet to win with a par after Duran missed the green and made bogey. That gave Higgins a 3-up lead and the match ended two holes later.
Virginia Derby Grimes, 45, of Meridian, Miss., eliminated two-time champion Carol Semple Thompson, 60, of Sewickley, Pa., 4 and 3. Grimes, the 1998 winner, faced a battle with Thompson, the only contestant who is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The match turned on the 11th and 12th holes. At the 11th, both players were putting for birdies from 20 feet. Grimes three-putted, and then Thompson, with a chance to pull within one hole with a 5-foot putt for par, missed. The hole was halved and Grimes remained 2 up.
Grimes then won the 12th on a 4-foot birdie putt to go 3 up, and won the 14th with a par to get to her 4-up winning margin.
In Tuesday’s second round, Hardin will play Marilyn Hardy of Houston, Texas, and Ladden faces Robin Burke, also of Houston. Lucas plays Christy Schultz of Rochester, N.Y., and Stasi faces Jane Fitzgerald. In a match pitting the defending champion against a multiple winner, Higgins will play Ellen Port of St. Louis, Mo., who won the championship three times. Grimes faces past runner-up Kerry Postillion of Burr Ridge, Ill.
The Women’s Mid-Amateur, for women amateurs age 25 and older, will be decided by a scheduled 18-hole final on Thursday. It is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association. Ten are strictly for amateurs.
Rhonda Glenn is a Manager of Communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at email@example.com.