Aliea Clark is the first 64th seed to advance to the final (USGA)
For the first time in U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship history, two 25-year-olds will play in the final match. Aliea Clark, just the second No. 64 seed to reach a final since the USGA began seeding for its amateur championships in the mid-1980s, will face Blakesly Brock on Thursday morning at Berkeley Hall Club in the 18-hole final.
Brock, of Chattanooga, Tenn., survived two extra-hole matches on Wednesday, including a birdie on the 19th hole to defeat 2018 champion Shannon Johnson in the semifinals.
Clark, a native Southern Californian who is now attending graduate school at New York University, continued her magical run in South Carolina on Wednesday, defeating Amanda Jacobs, of Portland, Ore., 4 and 2, in the semifinals, and Dawn Woodard, of Greer, S.C., 4 and 3, in the quarterfinals earlier in the day. On Thursday, she’ll try to become the first No. 64 seed to win a USGA championship. Alexandra Frazier lost in the 2010 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur final at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Naples, Fla.
Since her first-round victory over record-breaking medalist Jennifer Peng, Clark, who survived a 5-for-1 playoff to clinch the last spot in the match-play draw, has not trailed in any of her last four matches.
“It’s like my happy place,” said Clark about getting out to early leads in her two matches on Wednesday. “When you're on the back nine and you're 2 up, you can never relax, but you can at least breathe a little better hitting your shots.”
This is Clark’s first competitive event in four years. She was a member of UCLA’s women’s golf team, but since choosing to attend graduate school, Clark has focused on pursuing a dual degree; an MBA from Stern and an MFA from Tisch in film production.
Brock, who played collegiately at the University of Tennessee, opened up a 4-up advantage of Johnson, of North Easton, Mass., before suffering bogeys on four of her last five holes. Johnson converted a 12-foot par putt on the 18th hole to force extra holes. Brock, however, regained her form on the par-4 19th hole, the first hole of the North Course at Berkeley Hall, by making an uphill 15-foot birdie putt.
“I left myself the perfect putt on that green,” said Blakesly, the 2021 Tennessee Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. “It broke barely to the left. I was playing it right edge and hit my line, hit my speed and it went dead center, so it was awesome.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Brock eliminated Clare Connolly, of Chevy Chase, Md., in 20 holes. On Tuesday afternoon, Brock needed 19 holes to oust 2019 runner-up Talia Campbell.
In a battle of past U.S. Women’s Mid-Am champions in the quarterfinals on Wednesday morning, Johnson defeated 2015 champion Lauren Greenlief, of Ashburn, Va., 3 and 1. Greenlief built an early 2-up lead before Johnson won four holes in a row right before the turn, including birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to gain the momentum.
Also on Wednesday morning, defending champion Ina-Kim Schaad’s match-play win streak of nine was broken in a 1-up loss to Jacobs.
The 18-hole championship match will begin at 9 a.m. EDT on Thursday.
ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur
The U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur originated in
1987 to provide a national competitive arena
for amateurs 25 and older. Besides the age
restriction, the event is open to those with a
USGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or lower. It is
one of 14 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly
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