by Rhonda Glenn
CHATANOOGA, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2011) -– Two former champions from Texas, Anna Schultz of Rockwall and Mina Hardin of Fort Worth, won their third-round matches to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2011 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,876-yard, par-72 Honors Course.
Schultz, 56, played a brilliant approach shot to the 18th green to edge Leigh Klasse, 51, of St. Anthony, Minn., 1 up. Hardin, the defending champion, defeated Brenda Pictor of Marietta, Ga., 5 and 4.
Leading 1 up at the 18th hole, Schultz drove into a divot deep in the left rough. From the middle of the fairway, Klasse hit the shot she had to have, an iron to within 5 feet of the hole. Schultz used a 6-hybrid club to slam her ball out of the divot.
“That’s gonna be pretty good,” Schultz said. Her ball took several bounces and curled to a rest 15 feet past the flagstick. When she calmly rolled in the putt, the match was hers.
“It’s fun when you can pull off shots like that because you don’t practice them that much,” said Schultz after the match.
Hardin eased past Denise Desilet of Wichita, Kan., 4 and 2, and then regrouped during the lunch break to face Pictor in the third round.
“I was a little discombobulated this morning,” Hardin said, “then I went to the range and all the gears fell into place. My irons lasered in this afternoon.”
With the usual match-play concessions, Hardin was two over par for the 16 holes of her match with Desilet and two under par for 14 holes against Pictor, who battled illness in the afternoon.
Schultz, who won in 2007, and Hardin are the only two remaining past champions in a field that once boasted seven. Four-time champion Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., and the 2004 winner, Carolyn Creekmore of Dallas, lost in the second round. Thompson lost to Pictor, 4 and 3. Creekmore fell to Terri Frohnmayer of Salem, Ore., 1 up.
The medalist, Lisa Schlesinger, 53, of Laytonsville, Md., ended the hopes of Cheryl Grigg, 54, of Sea Island, Ga., 5 and 3.
Schlesinger outhit Grigg by more than 60 yards from the tee and Grigg said she was unable to take advantage of Schlesinger’s few mistakes. “I played my own game but I just didn’t execute,” Grigg said.
Kim Eaton, 52, of Greeley, Colo., sent Peggy Brady, 63, of Denver, N.C., to the sidelines, 5 and 3. The match was all square when Kim discovered a putting flaw on the sixth green. “I moved a bit closer to the ball and started putting better,” Eaton said.
Eaton went 1-up with a par on the seventh, 2- up with a conceded birdie on the ninth, and rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole to go 3-up. She closed out the match on the par-4 15th hole. “I was so happy to drive it in the fairway there,” said Eaton. “I’ve lost a lot of golf balls on that hole. In stroke-play qualifying, I made an 8!”
Nancy Smith, the 63rd qualifier, continued her run of victories with a 4-and-3 win over Maggie Leef of Brookfield, Wis. Smith, 64, is the oldest of the quarterfinalists. “I’m excited,” Smith said. “I never thought I’d even qualify this year, so it’ll be fun to play in the quarterfinals.”
Susan Rheney, 52, of Greensboro, Ga., defeated Pat Brogden, 57, of Garner, N.C., 5 and 3. Frohnmayer, 55, of Salem, Ore., ousted 1972 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Mary Budke, 57, of Palm Springs, Calif., 4 and 3.
Budke, a longtime Oregon resident, said she had won a 36-hole match against Frohnmayer in the final of the Oregon Women’s Amateur many years ago, but couldn’t remember which year. “I just remember that it was hard, very hard.”
Budke has been excited to return to competitive golf after retiring last year from her career as an emergency room physician, but isn’t accustomed to playing double rounds as she did Tuesday.
“I did not play well this afternoon,” Budke said. “I drove it poorly and I’m a little bit pooped.”
In Wednesday’s quarterfinal matches, Schlesinger will face Mary Jane Hiestand, 52, of Naples, Fla. Hiestand outlasted Kathy Kurata, 50, of Pasadena, Calif., winning on the 19th hole. Eaton will play Frohnmayer and Smith will go against Schultz. Hardin will play Rheney.