Virginia Beach, Va. – Helene Beat, a 29-year-old reinstated amateur from Sylvania, Ohio, upset defending champion Meghan Stasi, 2 and 1, during Tuesday afternoon’s third round of match play at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, being conducted at 6,187-yard, par-72 Bayville Golf Club.
Stasi, 33, of Oakland Park, Fla, was attempting to capture a historic fourth U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title. Beat, a financial advisor competing in her first USGA championship, knew that balanced play would be necessary to take the match.
“I just knew that I needed to be steady and make pars,” said Beat, who received her reinstatement in 2010 after working as an assistant teaching professional at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. “Whatever she did was what she did. It was sort of at the mercy of the game.”
Beat took the lead when Stasi made bogey on the par-5 sixth. Three more bogeys from Stasi, including consecutive ones at 12 and 13, gave Beat a tenuous, though ultimately insurmountable, 3-up advantage.
“I was still grinding, grinding, grinding after that. I was never comfortable,” said Beat, who advanced to the second round with a victory over 2010 Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up Alexandria Frazier, 53, of Conshohocken, Pa.
Stroke-play medalist Brenda Pictor, 56, of Marietta, Ga., also tallied two victories on Tuesday to move to the third round. A 2-and-1 victory over Janet Moore, 47, of Greenwood Village, Colo., in the second round secured her a spot in Wednesday’s round of 16.
“Janet had a super game,” said Pictor, who never relinquished the lead she took with a birdie on the par-4 third. “She missed a couple of greens coming in and didn’t get up and down, so that was the difference.”
Pictor’s first-round match, which began on Monday, pitted her against a difficult opponent in 2004 Senior Women’s Amateur champion Carolyn Creekmore, who survived Monday’s six-way playoff for the final match-play berth.
Creekmore, 59, of Dallas, Texas, carried the momentum from her playoff victory into the match, taking advantage of Pictor’s putting struggles to build a 3-up lead through seven holes.
“I just didn’t have the feel for the greens,” said Pictor, “so I wasn’t confident like you should be going into match play.”
However, Pictor fought back and knocked two holes off Creekmore’s lead before play was suspended for darkness after they had completed 11 holes. When play resumed Tuesday morning, Pictor was able to square the match going to the par-5, 477-yard 18th. A birdie at 18, her third of the championship on that hole, gave Pictor a 1-up victory.
The win provided a modicum of redemption for Pictor, who fell to Creekmore in the semifinals of the 2009 Senior Women’s Amateur.
“We had a bit of a history and I hadn’t beaten her yet, so this was a little sweet revenge,” said Pictor with a smile.
Mina Hardin, the 2010 Senior Women’s Amateur champion from Fort Worth, Texas, defeated 2010 Curtis Cup Team Captain Noreen Mohler, 1 up, in a tightly contested second-round match. Mohler, 57, of Bethlehem, Pa., took a 2-up lead when Hardin bogeyed the par-4 12th.
That’s when the 51-year-old Hardin started her charge.
“I told Robert (Wiesner, her caddie), ‘This is the turning point right now of our match,’ ” said Hardin, who won the par-3 13th to cut into Mohler’s lead and shift the momentum to her favor.
“It was just a battle all the way in to number 18,” said Hardin. “It was cool.”
Hardin also eliminated 2010 Women’s Mid-Amateur runner-up and Virginia Beach native Carol Robertson, 4 and 3, in the first round.
Hardin’s next opponent will be 1995, 1996 and 2000 Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Ellen Port. The 49-year-old from St. Louis, Mo., defeated Liisa Kelo Escartin and 2010 quarterfinalist Sydney Wells on Tuesday and is one-third of the way to her fourth championship title.
Also advancing were past Women’s Mid-Amateur champions Virginia Grimes, 47, of Meridian, Miss. and Martha Leach, 49, of Hebron, Ky. Both players cruised through Tuesday’s rounds, only needing 26 and 28 holes, respectively, out of a possible 36 to advance.
Next year’s USA Curtis Cup Captain Patricia Cornett, of Mill Valley, Calif., advanced with victories over Amanda Pettit and Stefani Markovich. The 51-year-old, who was the runner-up at the inaugural Women’s Mid-Amateur in 1987, is the oldest remaining player. She will meet Leach on Wednesday morning with a quarterfinal berth on the line.
The third round of match play will be conducted Wednesday morning, followed by the quarterfinal round Wednesday afternoon. The semifinals will be played Thursday morning, and the 18-hole championship match is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.