SAN ANTONIO, TX (Oct. 10, 2012) -- Standing on the 13th tee during her second-round match on Tuesday, Meghan Stasi couldn’t have liked her chances of winning the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
Five down with only six holes to play against Lynne Cowan, Stasi completed an improbable comeback, winning in 21 holes.
Three victories later, the 34-year-old from Oakland Park, Fla., finds herself one win away from joining Ellen Port as the only four-time champion of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
Stasi earned her spot in Thursday’s 18-hole championship match at the 6,074-yard, par-72 Briggs Ranch Golf Club with a pair of victories on Wednesday, including a 6-and-5 semifinal win over 2009 runner-up Laura Coble, of Augusta, Ga.
Standing in Stasi’s way is Liz Waynick, 52, of Scottsdale, Ariz. Waynick defeated her semifinal opponent, Stacy Dennis, of Huntsville, Texas, in 20 holes.
Thursday’s final is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. CDT.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, for female golfers 25 years of age and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Stasi, who won this event in 2006, 2007 and 2010, made quick work of Coble. The match was all square through seven holes, but Stasi won the next six holes to deny Coble her shot at an individual USGA championship. Coble has helped Georgia win three USGA Women’s State Team Championships.
“I’m going to need that rest for tomorrow,” said Stasi, a member of the victorious 2008 USA Curtis Cup Team.
Stasi used her length advantage against Coble, reaching both of the par 5s on the second nine (Nos. 11 and 13) in two. She converted birdies on each to put the match away.
“The 2-hybrid I hit on 11 was one of my best of the day,” said Stasi, whose approach landed within 12 feet for eagle.
In her quarterfinal match, Stasi was pushed to the 17th hole by a scrappy Andrea Kraus, 52, of Baltimore, Md., who was playing in her 22nd USGA championship. Stasi sank a clutch 12-foot par putt to eliminate Kraus, 2 and 1.
With a win on Thursday, Stasi would join rare company. She would be just the 16th player in USGA history to win the same championship at least four times. Last month, Nathan Smith accomplished the feat at Conway Farms C.C., in Lake Forest, Ill., when he won his fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur title. Port, the 2012 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion, won her fourth Women’s Mid-Amateur title last year. Port lost in the third round of this championship.
Despite being on history’s doorstep, Stasi remains focused on making good swings and sound decisions.
“I’m just going to take it shot by shot,” said Stasi. “You have to. The second you get ahead of yourself, bad things start to happen.”
Waynick has trailed for just one hole throughout her first five matches, spanning a stretch of 85 holes. Despite having the upper hand in a majority of her matches, two have gone to extra holes, including her semifinal victory against Dennis, the last remaining Texan in the field.
Dennis, the past president of the Texas Women’s Golf Association, made a 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole to extend the match, but her drive on the second extra hole found the left fairway bunker, forcing an awkward stance that left her no chance to reach the green. Her second shot landed 25 yards in front of the bunker and, after playing her third to the green, Dennis missed a 25-footer for par. Before she had a chance to attempt her bogey putt, Waynick drained her 5-foot par putt to end the match.
“I’m speechless,” said Waynick, who earlier in the day defeated 2004 Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski, 2 and 1, in the quarterfinals. “I’m just ecstatic right now, I couldn’t be more grateful. This is the highlight of my life.”
Despite nursing a blister on her left foot, Waynick said she will be ready to go against the long-hitting Stasi.
“I’m going to take all of her woods out of her bag and she’s going to start with her 7-iron,” joked Waynick. “I got to this point by playing my game. I’m not a long hitter by any means, but it’s not about how you get there, it’s about how many strokes it takes.”
Waynick competed in the 1976 U.S. Women’s Amateur (losing to Nancy Lopez, 5 and 3, in the third round) and 1977 Girls’ Junior, then got into the golf business in 1985, serving as the director of golf at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., and head golf professional at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. Both venues have hosted USGA championships.
She stopped playing competitive golf for nearly 25 years, but wanted to start playing some tournaments again after retiring in 2000. Because of various injuries to her shoulder and elbow, however, she did not enter another USGA championship until the 2011 Women’s Mid-Am.
A year later, she is just one win away from claiming a national championship.