FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 10, 2010) – Defending champion Sherry Herman, 52, of Farmingdale, N.J., advanced to the second round of the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,862-yard, par-72 Long Mean Course of Fiddlesticks, C.C., but medalist Leigh Klasse was defeated.
Four other former champions also advanced: Diane Lang, 55, of Jamaica; Carol Semple Thompson, 61, of Sewickley, Pa.; Anna Schultz, 55, of Rockwall, Texas; and Carolyn Creekmore, 58, of Dallas.
Herman trailed Joanne Catlin, 53, of Ashburnham, Mass., after Catlin birdied the first hole to go 1 up. Herman then won the third and fourth holes with pars to take the lead for good. Herman was literally knocking down the flagsticks. She was 2 up at the 12th hole when her approach shot hit the flagstick and ended 2 inches from the hole. Her birdie, however, was only good enough for a halve after Catlin ran in an 18-footer.
Herman won the 13th with a par to go 3 up. On the 14th, Herman again hit the flagstick with her approach shot and her 2-foot birdie putt gave her a 4-up lead. When Catlin and Herman halved the 15th with pars, Herman won, 4 and 3.
“I started out not swinging very well, a little fast,” Herman said. “It took a few holes to calm down and get my tempo going. Hitting the flagstick twice was fun. All of a sudden the swing and the timing were good.”
Herman faces a tough encounter Tuesday when she goes against Noreen Mohler, 56, of Bethlehem, Pa. Mohler, a member of the 1978 USA Curtis Cup Team, has returned to amateur competition after a long layoff. She was even par in Monday’s 7-and-6 win over Denise Desilet, 56, of Wichita, Kan.
Klasse, 51, of St. Anthony, Minn., was sent to the sidelines by Alexandria Frazier, 52, of Haverford, Pa., 1 up. Klasse’s second-round 68 on Sunday swept her to medalist honors, but her 4-up advantage after 10 holes dwindled away on the strength of some fine chipping and putting by Frazier.
Frazier won the 11th by getting up and down from the fringe for a par. She captured the 13th with a par when Klasse missed the green and bogeyed. Klasse double-bogeyed the 15th, virtually handing the hole to Frazier. Frazier then got it up and down from the fringe on the 16th and 17th for winning pars and vaulted into a 1-up lead. When both parred the 18th, Frazier won, 1 up.
Klasse was cheerful in defeat. “I had a great day yesterday, so no complaints,” she said. “I lost my tempo on the back side (today). Not good. This is my first Senior Women’s Amateur, so hopefully there’ll be many more to come.”
Mary Ann Hayward, 50, of Canada is another highly-regarded newcomer. The 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion is playing in her first Senior Women’s Amateur, a championship she said she has been pointing toward for two years. After firing 145 for 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, Hayward finished just a stroke behind Klasse. She dispatched Char McLear, 56, of McHenry, Ill., 7 and 5, in the first round.
Hayward was 5 up at the turn on the strength of a 5-under-par performance, with the usual match-play concessions.
“I just keep my mind on the execution of the shot,” Hayward said after the match. “I don’t think about the match, so much.”
Lang, a three-time champion, defeated Martha Lang, 57, of Birmingham, Ala., 4 and 2. It was a noteworthy win as Martha Lang was the 1988 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. Semple Thompson, who has seven USGA titles, defeated Marsha Butler, 61, of San Diego, 5 and 4.
Schultz, 2007 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion, defeated Genevieve Robinson, 50, of La Quinta, Calif., 2 and 1. Creekmore, the 2004 Senior Women’s Amateur champion, defeated Nancy Fitzgerald, 64, the 1997 champion, 3 and 1.
The second and third rounds of match play will be conducted Tuesday. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played on Wednesday and the Senior Women’s Amateur concludes with a scheduled 18-hole final on Thursday.
The Senior Women’s Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association. Ten are strictly for amateurs.