Aussie Wooster defeats Port on big day at U.S. Senior Women's Am
Sue Wooster with her husband and caddie (USGA/Steve Gibbons)
Sue Wooster with her husband and caddie (USGA/Steve Gibbons)

Australian Sue Wooster, the runner-up last year to Lara Tennant, posted a pair of match-play victories in breezy conditions on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 58th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Country Club.

Wooster, the No. 34 seed, edged No. 2 seed and three-time champion Ellen Port, 1 up, in the morning Round of 32, then held off Tara Fleming, of Jersey City, N.J., 2 and 1, in the afternoon Round of 16 after building an early 4-up lead.

“It was a real battle in the morning; to beat Ellen Port, I’m just stoked,” said Wooster, 57, of Lysterfield, a suburb of Melbourne. “She’s got game, you know? I played good again this afternoon, and Tara played some good golf to catch me back to 2 up. I got it up and down on 16 and 17 to halve those holes, so that was nice. I’ve got the speed of the greens down; hopefully that will last.”

Port led, 1 up, through 16 holes in the morning, but Wooster took the par-4 17th and 18th holes. No. 18, a green that has given the players fits this week, proved to be decisive as Port four-putted from a precarious spot above the hole after hitting the green in regulation to lose to Wooster’s bogey.

“I’m not sure if I’m over last year,” said Wooster of her 3-and-2 loss to Tennant at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla., last October. “I’m just taking one step at a time, but I’ve got a chance. I feel pretty proud of myself for getting this far and that gives me some confidence going forward.”

Tennant, of Portland, Ore., the No. 5 seed, defeated Pam Kuong, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., 4 and 3, in the afternoon after eliminating Maggie Leef, of Pewaukee, Wis., 3 and 2, in the morning. Tennant, 52, is attempting to become the first repeat winner of this championship since Port did it in 2012-13.

“I think my last 27 holes were better than my first nine,” said Tennant, who was co-medalist in the 2017 championship at her home club, Waverley Country Club. “Once I got through that first nine, I settled down and started hitting some good shots and made some putts when I needed to. It was very windy this afternoon. Conditions were far more difficult, so pars were good.”

Tennant will take on Lynne Cowan, 56, of Rocklin, Calif., who ousted three-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Sarah Ingram, of Nashville, Tenn., 4 and 3, in the afternoon after defeating Julie Massa, of Holt, Mich., 3 and 2, in the morning. Cowan, the No. 13 seed, has won more than 40 championships in California, and her furthest advancement in a USGA championship is the semifinals of the 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich., where she lost to eventual champion Joan Higgins in 21 holes.

“I tend to lose this match or the one in the morning so this is a bucket-list fulfiller for me,” said Cowan of the traditional Round of 32/Round of 16 day. “I usually can’t get past this hump. I just putted a little better than Sarah, that’s really all it was.”

Wooster will square off against Laura Webb, of the Republic of Ireland, who rallied to win holes 15-17 in the afternoon for a 1-up victory over Kim Keyer-Scott, of Estero, Fla. Webb never led until the 17th hole when she sank a 12-foot birdie putt, then closed out the match by halving No. 18 with a par. Webb, the No. 7 seed, ousted Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, Fla., 2 and 1, in the morning.

Tina Barker, the No. 48 seed, ousted medalist Martha Leach, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, 2 and 1, in the afternoon. Barker, of Fairfield, Calif., bested Suzi Spotleson by an identical score in the morning.

“I played against a lot of great players so far,” said Barker, 60, who is competing in her 16th USGA championship. “Martha is such a fabulous player. I was intimidated because I know she’s such a good player and she is also so nice. I have a lot of respect for her.”

No. 3 seed Mary Ann Hayward, of Canada, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, will square off against No. 22 Caryn Wilson, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, while No. 24 seed Patricia Ehrhart, of Honolulu, Hawaii, a semifinalist in this championship in 2017, will take on Barker.

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ABOUT THE U.S. Senior Women's Amateur

The USGA Senior Women's Amateur is open to female golfers with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 14.4, who will have reached their 50th birthday on or before the first day of the championship. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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