Ladies British Am: Stasi Advances to Semis
Meghan Stasi of Oakland Park, FL has advanced to the semifinals of the Ladies British Open Amateur at Ganton Golf Club. Below is the report from the Ladies Golf Union.
GANTON, ENGLAND (June 25, 2010)--There’s a transatlantic touch to tomorrow morning’s semi-finals of the Ladies British open amateur championship with two players from the United Kingdom playing two from North America for places in the 18-hole afternoon final at sunny Ganton Golf Club, Yorkshire.
Scottish champion Kelsey Macdonald, 19, and twice former United States mid-amateur title holder Meghan Stasi, 32, will cross swords for a second time when they contest the first semi-final.
Two 18-year-olds will play in the second semi-final: Kelly Tidy from Bolton, a junior Solheim and junior Ryder Cup player, against Rebecca Lee-Bentham from Toronto, Canada.
Stirling University student Kelsey, a member of Nairn Dunbar Golf Club, reached the last four with a 2 and 1 win over another United States player, Olivia Lansing, while Meghan, a US Curtis Cup player in the 2008 match at St Andrews, when her maiden name was Bolger, and winner of the US women’s mid-amateur championship in 2006 and 2007, staged an amazing fight back to beat Canada’s Jennifer Kirby by 3 and 2 in the quarter-finals.
“I know Meghan quite well from playing with and against her in Orange Blossom Tour events in Florida over the past two years,” said Kelsey.
“I was lucky enough to beat Meghan 3 and 2 in the 2008 semi-finals of the Doherty match-play championship before losing to Alexis Thompson in the final. And I met her again when I was out in Florida again earlier this year.”
Meghan was three down at the turn to Kirby but didn’t feel that she on the slippery slopes of defeat with nine holes to go.
“Ganton is such a great golf course for match-play that it didn’t worry me at all when I was three down. I knew there would be plenty of opportunities to turn it around on the back nine,” said championship debutante Stasi, who lives at Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her husband-cum-caddie and is a member of Coral Ridge Country Club.
And that’s just what the American did by winning SIX holes in a row from the ninth.
From three down after nine, Stasi made the deficit and then forged ahead to be three up after 15. A half at the 16th gave Stasi her come-from-behind 3 and 2 win.
“I played steady golf, lots of pars, which was all I needed to turn it around. Jennifer played really well in the morning, I hear (she was six under par), and she also played well on the first nine against me.”
Kelsey MacDonald has her long-term sights set on playing the 2012 Curtis Cup match in her home town of Nairn. She has won the Scottish Under-21 title for the past two seasons and played brilliantly to win the Scottish women’s amateur championship for the first time at Craigielaw in May.
“Missing out on selection for this year’s Curtis Cup match has spurred me on to win the Scottish title and also to do well here at Ganton. I am playing well at the moment but I am taking nothing for granted. It’s been a busy year for me already but I am trying to manage my time better so that I don’t get to the exhausted stage,” said Kelsey.
She won the first hole against Olivia Lansing in the quarter-finals and was never behind after that, gradually increasing her lead until she was three up after 12 holes.
Her American opponent prolonged the tie by winning the 14th and 16th but a half in par ended the match at the 17th.
Kelly Tidy, a member at Royal Birkdale, has left college and is now a full-time golfer, and would love to play in the up-coming Ricoh Women’s British Open. First, she has to get past the pre-qualifying at The Berkshire.
But the way Kelly has played at Ganton augurs well for the supporter of Liverpool Football Club’s fortunes.
“I was about level par in both my wins today and that’s what you have to aim for on such a testing course as Ganton,” said Kelly who was beaten in the final of the British girls’ championship when she was 15 and again when she was 16.”
Kelly beat 22-year-old Sara Juneau, the No 2 seed and the third Canadian to reach the last eight, by 3 and 2 after being in the driving seat from about the fifth hole onwards. She doubled a one-hole lead at the 11th but lost the 12th before restoring a two-hole advantage and maintaining that through the 14th and 15th before winning the 16th for victory.
But a Canadian did win the other quarter-final, Rebecca Lee-Bentham winning by two holes against 24-year-old touring Australian Stacy Keating by two holes.
Rebecca, who will enrol at the University of Texas in the autumn n, is, in the words of her dad, “not happy with the way she’s hitting the ball but she’s getting the ball in the hole” which is what match-play is all about.
“I was a little bit nervous over the closing holes,” said Rebecca who was three up after four holes and four up at the turn but saw Stacy gradually whittle away her lead early on the inward nine.
Keating, with a series of wins, was only one down on the 17th tee but it was a case of so far and no further. She was forced to concede the 18th hole and the match to end her fight back.
Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, the No 1 seed, was toppled by Canadian Jennifer Kirby in a battle of the birdies in the round of the last 16 in perfect golfing weather for the penultimate day of the Ladies British open amateur championship at Ganton Golf Club, Yorkshire.
Kirby, a 19-year-old from Paris, Ontario and a student at the University of Alabama, reckoned she was five or six under par in winning the match by two holes.
Hedwall, beaten by Anna Nordqvist in the final at North Berwick two years ago and the top US women’s college circuit player for the 2009-2010 season, was approximately three under par at the death – a standard of scoring that would win more ties that it would lose.
“It was a great match and to have won it despite twice being two down makes me very happy,” said Jennifer, who will be defending both the Canadian girls’ and women’s championships later this summer.
Hedwall was two up after six but Kirby pulled her back to square at the eight and was one up after nine before Hedwall had a good sub-par run to take up a two-hole lead after 14 holes.
The Canadian then put the wheels on a great come-from-behind win by chipping in for an eagle 3 from 40ft to win the 15th and then holed from 12ft for a winning birdied 3 at the 16th – all square.
Kirby made it three winning holes in a row, to come from two down to one up, with a par 3 at the 17th where Hedwall was bunkered.
The Swede drove too close to the trees on the left at the 18th and had a bad lie in lush long grass. She got her ball out but couldn’t control where it was going to finish and it ended up in a gorse bush some 80 yards short of the green on which Kirby had deposited her approach shot.
Hedwall took a lift and drop under penalty but, having played her shot, she then conceded the hole and a two-hole victory to the Canadian.
Kirby will now play another North American, former United States Curtis Cup player Meghan (Bolger) Stasi, who won the US women’s mid-amateur title in 2007.
Meghan beat Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton), a member of this year’s Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team, by 3 and 1.
Stasi was never in arrears and took a grip of the match after going two up with successes at the sixth and seventh. She increased her lead to three at the 11 and four at the 14th. Jennings won back the 16th but a half at the 16th ended the contest in favour of the American.
Scottish champion Kelsey MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar) had four birdies and was roughly two under par in winning by 2 and 1 against Spain’s Adriana Zwank.
The Scot birdie the third, sixth, ninth and 14th but it was a “career shot” for a half in 4 at the 16th which she enthused most about at the finish.
“It was a three-wood from away out on the left from a rubbish kind of lie and I put it to within 20ft of the stick,” said Kelsey who has also been Scotland’s Under-21 champion for the past two seasons.
A par was good enough to put MacDonald two up after 11 but Zwank birdied the 12th to get back to only one down. Kelsey birdied the 14th to regain a two-hole advantage but the Spaniard was not subdued yet. She won the 15th to be one down with three to play.
The 16th was halved – thanks to MacDonald’s “wonder” shot – before Kelsey won the hole and the match at the short 17th with a five-iron to 15ft of the hole. Zwank miss the green and could not get up and down to prolong the tie.
MacDonald will now play American Olivia Lansing for a place in Saturday morning’s semi-finals. Lansing was one or two down for most of the first 13 holes but squared the match at the 14th, went one down again at the 16th but squared it again by winning the 18th – and completed her recovery by winning at the 19th.
Australian Stacy Keating entered the quarter-finals with a 4 and 2 win over Fanny Vuigner from Switzerland.
The first five holes were fairly even but Keating never looked back after going two up at the eighth. That became four up with further successes at the ninth and 10th.
Fanny rallied to win the 11th and 12th but the Aussie stopped the slide by winning the 14th and clinched the match by taking the 16th also.
Keating’s opponent in the quarter-finals is Rebecca Lee-Bentham, the third Canadian in the last eight. Rebecca was twice three down in her match against Germany’s Thea Hoffmeister but won four holes in a row from the 12th to be one up after 16 holes.
Hoffmeister squared it again at the 17th but Lee-Bentham was not to be denied. She won the 18th for a one-hole win.
Sally Watson (Elie and Earlsferry), the last surviving member of this year’s GB and I Curtis Cup team, bowed out on the 18th green to Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale), the Junior Ryder Cup player and beaten British girls’ championship finalist in 2007 and 2008.
Tidy went two up after three holes and her Scottish opponent was playing catch-up golf thereafter, never quite getting back on terms although reducing Kelly’s lead to one hole on several occasions.
The key holes was the 14th which Tidy won to increase her advantage to three with four to play. Watson responded with a never-say-die effort. She won the 15th and 16th to be one on the 17th tee but could only halve the last two holes.
Tidy will now play the No 2 seed, Sara Juneau, the second Canadian to reach the last eight. Sara beat 17-year-old English women’s champion Hayley Davis (Ferndown) by 2 and 1 in a tight match which swung in favour of the Canadian from the 14th.
Juneau won that hole to go one up and doubled her lead by winning the 15th. Davis was held at bay with halves at the 16th and 17.
Rounds 1 & 2
Americans Meghan Stasi of Oakland Park, FL and Olivia Lansing of Dellwood, MN each won two matches to reach the round of 16 at the Ladies British Open Amateur at Ganton Golf Club.
Stasi, the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and former Curtis Cupper, beat Lucie Andre of France in the morning by one hole, before taking out 16-year-old Welsh international Amy Boulden by the same margin the afternoon. Boulden was one up on the 16th tee but drove into the bushes which squared the match. The 17th was halved before Stasi won the match at the 18th after both went through the back of the green with their approach shots in the increasingly bouncy conditions and the windiest day of the week.
Stasi now faces Rachel Jennings of England, a member of the 2010 GB&I Curtis Cup team, who beat Mireia Prat of Spain in the afternoon after winning by 6 and 5 over Germany’s Valerie Sternebeck.
“Yes, I’m tired coming back from the Curtis Cup but I’m hanging on in there, not thinking beyond the next match,” said the 21-year-old Staffordshire player who intends trying her luck at the Ladies European Tour Q School later this year.
Lansing didn't have to play the 18th in either of her matches, winning 3&2 over Emma Brown of England in the morning, and then taking out Louise Larsson of Sweden in the afternoon. Her third-round opponent will be 21-year-old Sian James of England, who defeated two players from Germany (Lara Katzy and Sophia Popov) to reach the third round.
The Ladies British Open Amateur Championship is being played at Ganton Golf Club, which has been the venue for a number of amateur and professional competitions including the 1949 Ryder Cup, the 2000 Curtis Cup, the 2003 Walker Cup and multiple British Amateur Championships.