HERSHEY, Penn. (Sept. 10, 2012) -- Lisa Schlesinger, 54, of Laytonsville, Md., who earned medalist honors for the second consecutive year, won her first-round match on Monday to lead 32 players into the second round of match play at the 2012 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at the par-74, 6,220-yard Hershey Country Club West Course.
Schlesinger, who reached last year’s USGA Senior Women’s Amateur semifinal round, took control near the end of the first nine en route to a 5-and-4 victory over Teresa Cleland, of Syracuse, N.Y. Schlesinger birdied the par-3 eighth after hitting a rescue club to close range and then captured the ninth with a par. Schlesinger won holes 11, 13 and 14 with pars to close out the match.
“The pin was really far left,” said Schlesinger about the hole location on No. 8. “In previous rounds, I had been right and short. I took dead aim at the pin and the wind was blowing left to right. It came up about eight feet. After I made that birdie, I wanted to keep hitting the green and give myself a chance. I calmed down and the ball rolled much better (on the green). I didn’t putt badly after that.”
The 2012 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship continues with the second and third rounds of match play Tuesday. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played Wednesday. The championship concludes with an 18-hole final on Thursday, starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
The USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, for players 50 and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Ellen Port, 50, of St. Louis, Mo., was flawless in her 7-and-6 victory over Maggie Leef, of Elm Grove, Wis., and was among eight past USGA champions who advanced. A winner of four U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur titles, Port made three birdies and nine pars in the match’s 12 holes.
Martha Leach, 50, of Hebron, Ky., had to work harder as the championship’s fourth seed. In her 2-and 1 triumph over Susan Stewart, of Louisville, Ky., she moved ahead by winning the 13th hole with a par, before making birdie on the par-5 15th. Leach won the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
Taffy Brower, 67, of Boynton Beach, Fla., won holes 12 and 14 with pars to down Susan Beaupied, of Raleigh, N.C., 2 and 1. Brower, the fifth seed, had the best score in the second round of stroke play, an even-par 74.
Lynda Case, 54, of Fort Myers, Fla., pulled off the day’s biggest upset with a 1-up win against three-time Senior Women’s Amateur champion Diane Lang, of Weston, Fla. Case, who survived an 8-for-5 playoff to make match play earlier in the day, saw a two-hole lead evaporate on the inward nine, but parred the 18th to wrap up the first-round decision.
“It’s certainly gratifying to have gone through all that and still be here,” Case said. “Playing this morning (in the playoff) wasn’t all that bad; I got to warm up a bit.”
In a first-round pairing of past USGA champions, Corey Weworski made a 4-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole to defeat World Golf Hall of Famer Carol Semple Thompson. Weworski, who won the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in 2004, was 2 up after 10 holes, but Thompson, a four-time Senior Women’s Amateur champion, birdied the par-4 14th to even the match.
“I am always honored to play against her or with her,” said Weworski, who set up her winning putt with a pitching-wedge approach shot on the par-5 first hole. “I am playing with one of the true champions. We didn’t play our best golf, but we grinded it out.”
Carolyn Creekmore, 60, of Dallas, the Senior Women’s Amateur winner in 2004, and Mina Hardin, 52, of Fort Worth, Texas, the 2010 champion, also advanced to the second round. Creekmore birdied the opening three holes and then won three consecutive holes on the second nine in dispatching Mary Ann Hayward, 52, of Canada, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, 5 and 4.
“No matter how far ahead I got, I didn’t think it was enough,” Creekmore said. “I’ve seen her play before, she can come back. She did not have a good day.”
Defending USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion Terri Frohnmayer, 56, of Salem, Ore., was not as fortunate in her first-round match, losing to Sandra Woodruff, of Santa Cruz, Calif., 4 and 2.
Also advancing were 2007 champion Anna Schultz, 57, of Rockwall, Texas; 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur titlist Joan Higgins, 56, of Glendora, Calif., and Robin W. Donnelley, 58, of Palm Beach, Fla., the 1989 Women’s Mid-Amateur winner.