CHATANOOGA, Tenn. (Sept. 14, 2011) -- Defending champion Mina Hardin, 51, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Terri Frohnmayer, 55, of Salem, Ore., advanced to Thursday’s final at the 2011 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,876-yard, par-72 Honors Course.
Hardin defeated 2007 champion Anna Schultz, 56, of Rockwall, Texas, 4 and 3, in the semifinals to advance.
“I feel excited, totally, excited,” said Hardin. “We worked real hard this week, so it’s wonderful to be in the final.”
Frohnmayer earned her first appearance in a national final when she outlasted medalist Lisa Schlesinger, 53, of Laytonsville, Md., on the 20th hole.
With Schlesinger bombing tee shots some 60 yards past Frohnmayer on every hole, Frohnmayer played her own game. “It’s how many shots into the hole that counts,” Frohnmayer said. “I just tried to play one shot at a time.”
All square after 18 holes, Frohnmayer and Schlesinger scrambled on the first extra hole. Schlesinger missed the green and chipped to within 12 feet of the hole. Frohnmayer faced a breaking, downhill chip from behind the green and chipped to within 4 feet. Both players made their putts. It was Frohnmayer’s first up and down of the match.
After both drove into the fairway on the par-5 20th hole, Frohnmayer hit a fairway club fat and her ball scampered low and left to the 100-yard marker. Schlesinger pulled out her 3-wood to fire at the green.
“Absolutely, I was going for it,” Schlesinger said. She, too, hit her second shot fat and well short of the green. Frohnmayer’s approach shot left her with a 40-foot putt. Schlesinger tried to finesse a 50-yard wedge shot but her ball hit the bank and rolled back, 5 yards short of the green.
From there, Schlesinger made bogey and Frohnmayer two-putted to win the hole and the match.
Hardin’s momentum in her match with Schultz picked up after advice from her caddie-husband Gary. After Hardin missed a short putt on the seventh hole, Gary Hardin told her to shorten her follow-through. She narrowly missed a 12-footer on the eighth hole, but her par gave her a 1-up lead. Hardin then made three straight birdies on putts ranging from 4 to 8 feet to take a 4-up lead after 12 holes.
Schultz won the 13th hole with a par. Now 3 up with four holes to play, Hardin watched Schultz hit a hybrid club to within 12 feet of the hole on the 15th.
“I flushed an 8-iron,” said Hardin. “It was on the stick all the way. It just covered the flag.” Her ball ended within 6 feet of the hole and she made the birdie putt to win.
Frohnmayer is called “Little Bit” by The Honors Course caddies because of her 5’1”, 105-pound stature. She now seeks the biggest title in senior women’s amateur golf.
“Will somebody pinch me?” Frohnmayer asked. “I am ecstatic to be in the final.”
Hardin will be in familiar territory. She captured last year’s title with a 2-and-1 victory in the final.
“We still have some work to do,” Hardin said after her semifinal victory.
The USGA 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.
Rhonda Glenn is a USGA manager of Communications. E-mail her with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.