Chattanooga, Tenn. – Coming off a runner-up finish in 2010, Alexandra Frazier was poised to do better this year.
At the players dinner, she was inspired by Anna Schultz’s speech in which the 2007 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion said getting to the final a first time is nice. It’s not until you lose the first one that you truly hunger for the victory the next go-round.
Little did Frazier know that Schultz would present a major hurdle in getting back to the final. On Tuesday in the second round of matches at The Honors Course, Schultz and Frazier squared off. At that players dinner speech, Schultz provided little guidance in what to do if you come across a past champion on the road back to the final. The 53-year-old Frazier, of Conshohocken, Pa., learned a hard lesson, succumbing 5 and 4, to the 56-year-old native of Rockwall, Texas.
“I am disappointed,” said Frazier moments after losing on the 14th hole. “I wish I would have played better. Anna played beautifully. … I actually told Anna that she inspired me with her speech at the players dinner.”
Schultz, who said her strategy is to focus on the course and not her opponent, jumped out to an early 1-up lead after the first hole. Plan B of her strategy was to try and win as many early holes as possible. It didn’t happen that way as the match remained close until Schultz went 2 up on No. 6 after Frazier couldn’t get up and down. From that point, Schultz never looked back.
On No. 8, a 140-yard par 3, Frazier put her tee shot in a left greenside bunker, leading to an awkward lie and awkward stance. Frazier tried to punch out, but she skulled the ball, which stopped 24 feet short of the destination. She again failed on getting up and down. Schultz, meanwhile, two-putted from 24 feet to go 3 up.
Schultz tightened the vise, winning the next hole, too, when Frazier found water. Not once, but twice. Frazier ultimately conceded the hole
With a 4-up advantage, Schultz was locked in.
“I don’t watch what my opponent does,” she said. “I can’t control their game so it’s no use.”
On the 315-yard par-4 12th hole, Schultz registered her largest lead with a 2-foot par save that pushed her margin to 5 up. Frazier won the next hole with a 4-foot birdie putt, but that would be her last moment of glory. Schultz ended the match on No. 14 after Frazier three-putted from 50 feet. Schultz looked at a 10-foot putt from above the hole before dropping it in.
Afterward, a relieved Schultz praised Frazier for not giving up. She said she didn’t take the match lightly even when she got a commanding lead.
Schultz’s reward will be 51-year-old Leigh Klasse, of St. Anthony, Minn., in the third round.
“They’re all hard,” said Schultz of the matches. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the first, second or semifinal round, they’re all plain hard.”