Chattanooga, Tenn. – Medalist Lisa Schlesinger and former champions Mina Hardin and Anna Schultz advanced to the semifinals at the 2011 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,876-yard, par-72 Honors Course.
The newcomer to the semifinal round is Terri Frohnmayer, 55, of Salem, Ore., who with the usual match-play concessions played 3-under-par golf in defeating Kim Eaton, 52, of Greeley, Colo., 5 and 4.
Frohnmayer, nicknamed “Little Bit” by caddies here because of her 5’1”, 105-pound stature, hasn’t been a part of the national senior golf scene but competes in the Pacific Northwest. She works in commercial real estate and does most of her practicing after quitting time, running nine holes while pushing her clubs on a cart to stay in shape.
The upcoming semifinals of a national championship will be rarified air for Frohnmay and she was excited about the way she’s playing.
“I played exceptionally well,” Frohmayer said. “My putting nerves weren’t as prevalent as they usually are.”
She made three birdies to win holes from Eaton. A wedge shot to 8 feet on the second hole was her first birdie of the round. On the 10th hole, now 3 up, she hit an 8-iron to within 4 feet of the hole and made the putt for a second birdie.
“The 8-iron was ‘thin-to-win,’” she laughed. On the 14th, she ended the match when she made a 12-foot birdie putt.
Frohnmayer will face the long-hitting Schlesinger in Wednesday afternoon’s first semifinal match. With Schlesinger expected to out-hit her opponent by more than 60 yards off the tee, Frohnmayer said she would just play her own game. “I’ll keep it as simple as possible,” she said.
Schlesinger, 53, of Laytonsville, Md., was forced beyond the 15th hole for the first time this week in her 2-and-1 victory over Mary Jane Hiestand, 52, of Naples, Fla. Schlesinger won on the 17th green, 2 and 1. Schlesinger said she wasn’t as sharp as in her earlier matches and was four over par, with match-play concessions.
“I hit the ball decently, but I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been,” Schlesinger said. “I was also tentative on some putts and too aggressive on others.”
Schlesinger said she’d grab lunch and then head to the practice area to work on her tee shots and her putting.
Susan Rheney, 52, of Greensboro, Ga., lost to defending champion Mina Hardin, 51, of Fort Worth, Texas, 2 and 1. Hardin went 1 up with a par on the first hole and never trailed in the match. At No. 15, Rheney tightened the match with a conceded birdie after Hardin went into the water. Two holes up with three holes remaining, Hardin parred the 16th and 17th to win.
“I’m thrilled,” said Rheney, who has an MBA from Harvard University and is on the board of CenterPoint Energy, a Houston-based utility. “I’m very pleased. It was a lot of fun, but I felt the momentum go Mina’s way on the 13th hole when she knocked in a 25-foot birdie putt.”
Anna Schultz, 56, the 2007 champion, had a battle with Nancy Smith, 64, of North Port, Fla., the oldest remaining contestant. Although Schultz led throughout the match, she never had more than a 2-up margin before closing it out on the 17th hole with a par to Smith’s bogey.
The afternoon’s semifinals will see Schlesinger face Frohnmayer while former champions Schultz and Hardin will battle for a slot in Thursday’s final.