WICHITA, Kan. (Sept. 29, 2010) – Megan Stasi of Oakland Park, Fla., and Carol Robertson of Virginia Beach, Va., will face off when the 2010 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship final commences Thursday morning at Wichita Country Club.
On a warm, cloudless afternoon, Stasi, 32, closed out Brooke Williams, 27, of Fort Worth, Texas, 4 and 3, to place herself in a familiar position, namely the 18-hole final. Stasi is a two-time champion of the event, winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and ’07, when she was known as Meghan Bolger. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches were both contested Wednesday.
Before Stasi eliminated Williams, Robertson, 27, defeated 48-year-old Robin Burke of Houston, in the other semifinal match, winning 5 and 4 on the 6,209-yard, par-72 William H. Diddel design. It’s been quite a ride for Robertson, who was reinstated as an amateur on Sept. 5 and qualified for the championship two days later. Reaching the final had been in the back of her head.
“It’s just been a goal of mine all week,” said Robertson, whose husband, Jason, played in the U.S. Mid-Amateur in Bridgehampton, N.Y., this week, but failed to qualify for match play. “It’s surreal to think that it’s actually happened. In my head I thought I could do it. … I’m more relieved than I am tired. The last thing on my mind is sleep.”
Robertson stopped the freight train that was Burke in this championship. Burke was making her second appearance in the semifinal round since 2005 and had just sent home 2004 champion Corey Weworski, 48, of Carlsbad, Calif., in the quarterfinals. But Burke had trouble locating the fairway in the afternoon, constantly driving into the left rough.
Burke had worked on her swing between rounds because she had started pulling everything off the tee.
“I just couldn’t get it going,” said Burke. “When you’re hitting it sideways, it doesn’t help and will get you steamrolled out here.”
It didn’t help Burke’s cause that Robertson played flawlessly, carding a bogey-free round and shooting the equivalent of three under par with match-play concessions.
“I played the best match and round of golf all week,” said Robertson.
Robertson made the turn 2 up and then floored it. She birdied the par-5 10th hole after leaving her ball just short of the green in two and two-putting from 20 feet to go 3 up. On the 414-yard, par-4 14th, Robertson benefitted from Burke’s unforced error. From the greenside rough, Burke opted to chip but her club caught a patch of grass and the ball traveled just 15 feet, 13 feet short of the hole, leading to a bogey. Robertson lagged a 40-footer to one foot and won the hole.
The match ended one hole later when Burke couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker. Robertson knocked in a 14-foot par-saving putt and the two shook hands.
For Robertson, the experience has been worth gaining her amateur status back. In 2007 she opted to turn professional and tried to break through on the Futures Tour for two full years. Tired of living out of a suitcase, she had had enough by 2009.
“My heart wasn’t in it,” said Robertson, an assistant golf coach at Old Dominion. “My heart is in this. I love being an amateur.”
So does Stasi. She went through the first stage of LPGA Tour Qualifying School several years ago, but a conflict derailed her quest. She said Wednesday that she’s very happy being an amateur and hasn’t entertained any thoughts of turning pro.
It’s been quite a week for Stasi. She has eliminated two former champions (Joan Higgins and Weworksi) and one runner-up (Kerry Postillion). She downplayed that feat, saying that every opponent is tough.
Williams proved to be a worthy foe. Stasi couldn’t shake her through the first nine, forging a 2-up advantage. But then she won the ninth, 10th and 11th holes. Williams’ fate was sealed on the 343-yard par-4 15th when she misplayed a chip from the back left side of the green. The ball trickled about 10 feet short of its intended destination. Williams sighed as she handed her wedge back to her caddie.
Stasi then converted a 4-footer to close out Williams.
“I’m obviously upset that I lost because I thought I was playing well enough where I could have won,” said Williams, who hadn’t played much golf prior to August due to other obligations.
Stasi vows not to get ahead of herself, or allow thoughts of a third title to enter her head.
“It’s still not over,” said Stasi. “The odds are a lot better than they were.”
On Thursday, the 18-hole final will begin at 9 a.m. CDT.
Wichita, Kan. – Results of Wednesday’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship quarterfinal and semifinal rounds that were held at the 6,209-yard par-72 Wichita Country Club.
Robin Burke, Houston, Texas (153) def. Corey Weworski, Carlsbad, Calif. (155), 4 and 3
Carol Robertson, Virginia Beach, Va. (150) def. Sydney Wells, Menominee, Mich. (156), 4 and 3
Brooke Williams, Fort Worth, Texas (159) def. Carolyn Creekmore, Dallas, Texas (151), 6 and 4
Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park, Fla. (147) def. Laura Coble, Augusta, Ga. (152), 1 up
Carol Robertson, Virginia Beach, Va. (150) def. Robin Burke, Houston, Texas (153), 5 and 4
Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park, Fla. (147) def. Brooke Williams, Fort Worth, Texas (159), 4 and 3
9 a.m. Carol Robertson, Virginia Beach, Va. (150) vs. Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park, Fla. (147)