By Ken Klavon, USGA
Richmond, Texas – Kerry Postillion remembered the last time she earned medalist honors at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
She also recalled the dreadful hangover effect upon losing in the first match to Peggy Brady in 19 holes that Sept. 8, 1997 day. It irritated her like a swollen blister.
Medalist again this year, the former touring professional vowed that another humiliating exit simply couldn’t happen.
“Once I got past my first match,” she said Wednesday, “I was over the hump.”
Evidenced by her quarterfinal match against defending champion Corey Weworski, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say she’s more like a runaway boulder tumbling down a steep mountain now. She’s picking up speed toward her first Women’s Mid-Amateur title.
Postillion dispatched Weworski, 4 and 3, to advance to the afternoon’s semifinal round against 1998 champion Virginia Derby Grimes. It’s her first semifinal appearance since 1996 when she eliminated Carol Semple Thompson in 19 holes at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Things didn’t work out precisely as she would have liked that year, with Ellen Port winning the close final, 2 and 1. But it gave her confidence that maybe one day she could hoist the Mildred Gardiner Prunaret Trophy.
Coming into Wednesday, Postillion glanced at the pairing sheet and noticed who she had.
“Oh yes, I was well aware of her,” said Postillion. “I was just trying to not think about her being the defending champion. I wanted to focus on playing my game.”
Which she evidently did. Postillion’s accuracy and fluid swing impressed Weworski most.
“She was more consistent, definitely,” said the 43-year-old Weworski from Carlsbad, Calif.
Want proof? After carding a bogey on the first hole to go 1 down, Postillion reeled off 14 consecutive pars. Weworski hung tough, shooting 1 over par through the first nine holes, but found herself 1 hole down as they headed into the home stretch. Postillion wrested control of the match on the 371-yard, par-4 11th, going 2 up, when Weworski couldn’t get up and down.
Weworski’s fate probably was sealed two holes later. Again, she couldn’t get up and down on the par-4 12th. This time from a front bunker that guarded the green. The machine-like Postillion chipped 20 feet off the green to within 4 feet and hit the rather ordinary putt to notch a 3-up advantage.
Trying to press ahead, Weworski stumbled again on the next hole, a par 4. A chunked approach shot from being too quick went about 20 yards, causing Weworski to drop her head.
“When I chunked that shot,” said Weworski, “I thought, ‘OK, I may make my flight.’ … I made too many mistakes like that shot I chunked.”
Postillion pounced on the snafu, getting on the green in two and two-putting to essentially put the match away.
For Weworski, the loss completes a magical year that saw her finally believe in her game. She said she leaves the championship with no remorse for not defending.
“I was happy to get this far as the defending champion,” said Weworski. “I just didn’t want to embarrass myself.”
Asked which is tougher to do, win her first title or go through the rigors of winning a second, Weworski didn’t hesitate.
“Harder to win my second,” said Weworski. “I may never win this again.”
Ken Klavon is the USGA’s web editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.
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