FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2010) – Alexandra Frazier, 52, of Haverford, Pa., will meet Mina Hardin, 50, of Fort Worth, Texas in Thursday’s final of the 2010 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,862-yard, par-72 Long Mean Course of Fiddlesticks Country Club.
Frazier defeated Patty Moore, 60, of Charlotte, N.C., in Wednesday’s semifinals, 2 and 1. Hardin defeated 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Mary Ann Hayward, 50, of Canada, 1 up.
Frazier enters the match as the most surprising of finalists. In a field of 64 for match play, she qualified 64th and then became the giant-killer when she upset medalist Leigh Klasse in the first round on Monday and defending champion Sherry Herman in the quarterfinals on Wednesday morning. If Frazier wins, she would be the first 64th-seeded player to win a USGA championship.
“I’m the underdog, so I have nothing to lose,” Frazier said. “I feel like I’m the underdog every time. I’d obviously be delighted to win. I’m delighted to be in the finals. I’m shocked.”
The Frazier-Moore contest went to the last player standing as both hit some loose shots. Moore’s par won the first hole, but Frazier’s bogey won the second and squared the match. Frazier went 1 up after a birdie at the par-5 fourth hole and she won the fifth with a bogey for a 2-up margin.
Moore won the ninth with a bogey and grumbled as she walked off the green. “I’ve got to figure out this putter,” Moore said. After a good week on the greens, Moore couldn’t rally her flat stick. She three-putted the 10th to lose it to Frazier’s par.
Frazier won on the 17th hole when both players bogeyed. With the usual match-play concessions, she was 10 over par.
“I’m completely unaware of the score,” Frazier said. “I’m playing every hole in itself. It’s match play…I just plod along. But I am a good match-play player. I’m scrappy. I figure out a way to get it in the hole.”
The Hardin-Hayward match pitted two reinstated amateurs and featured eight birdies, with Hardin making four of them on a brilliant stretch of eight holes.
There was never more than a two-hole margin between Hayward, a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, and Hardin, runner-up in the 2001 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
Hayward was 2 up at the turn, but Hardin holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 11th to cut the margin to 1 hole. At the 12th, Hardin hit a 107-yard wedge shot to within 3 feet of the hole for another birdie to square the match.
Hayward came back with a birdie on the par-3 13th to take a 1-up lead but Hardin’s winning par on the 14th again squared the match.
Both players displayed fine shot-making on the final two holes. Hardin hit a 9-iron to within inches of the hole on the 143-yard par-3 17th and took a 1 up lead when Hayward could only manage par.
With Hardin’s slim lead, both players took a risk on the par-5 18th hole where the green is surrounded by water. After fine tee shots, both went for the green on their second shots. Hardin hit a 5-iron to within 50 feet of the hole. Hayward was also on the green, some 60 feet away.
Hayward snuggled her putt down to within tap-in range, setting the table for Hardin. But Hardin’s long putt came up 7 feet short and she was faced with having to make it to win the match.
Hardin’s husband/caddie Gary said, “You’re going to make that putt.”
Hardin said, “You got it.”
She knocked in the birdie putt to win, 1 up, and raised her arms.
While Hardin was one under par on her card in the semis and will be the more experienced player in Thursday’s final, she isn’t discounting Frazier’s ability to win the big ones.
“You don’t ever count anybody out,” Hardin said. “It is golf. So I’m going to have the same plan of attack. Mind my own business. Hit my own shots. To me there’s nothing better than getting a USGA trophy.”
Frazier too said she would continue her own winning routine. “I’ll do the same thing I’ve been doing all week,” she said. “I’ll stretch, eat breakfast, come out, warm up and play.”