San Antonio – Dawn Woodard, of Greer, S.C., followed up her opening-round 69 with a 1-over-par 73 on Sunday morning for a 36-hole total of 2-under-par 142 to take the clubhouse lead for stroke-play medalist honors at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Briggs Ranch Golf Club.
Of the 66 players to finish their second round of qualifying, Woodard, 38, is the only player to better par for 36 holes on the par-72, 6,127-yard Tom Fazio layout.
Unseasonably cool temperatures and gusty northeast winds greeted the players, making a challenging course that yielded just two sub-par rounds on Saturday even tougher. Temperatures in the region typically hover in the mid-80s at this time of year, but the high on Sunday morning was nearly 25 degrees below that average. Cool temperatures, coupled with a stiff breeze that at times gusted more than 25 mph, added to the difficult scoring conditions.
Woodard had an uneven start to her round with two birdies, one bogey and one double bogey over her first four holes. From there she settled down and played even-par golf the rest of the way.
“It was chilly starting out, but the big factor today was the wind,” said Woodard, who made four birdies after registering five in the first round. “There was at least a two to three club difference from yesterday. I just tried to err on the safe side and take big numbers out of play.
Woodard was more consistent off the tee on Saturday, hitting 13 of 14 fairways, but on Sunday her strategy was to play solidly to prepare for Monday’s first round of match play.
“I didn’t hit nearly as many fairways and greens … but I kept the ball in play and salvaged another good round,” said Woodard.
If Woodard’s 142 total holds up, she will join four-time Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Ellen Port (2000, 2001, 2002, 2010) and two-time champion Carol Semple Thompson (1989, 1990, 1993) as the only competitors to earn medalist honors at least three times in this championship.
The Women’s Mid-Amateur, for female golfers 25 and over, is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association. The field begins with 132 golfers and then cut to 64 players for match play, which begins Monday and concludes with an 18-hole final on Thursday at 9 a.m. CDT.
Mercedes Huarte, of Argentina, triple-bogeyed her final hole of the day, but still managed a 79 for a 36-hole total of 7-over 151. She currently shares second position along with Mexican-born Mina Hardin, of Fort Worth, Texas, the 2010 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion. Hardin shot a 76 to go along with her first-round 75.
Huarte moved to the United States from Argentina at age 18 to play golf at Jacksonville (Ala.) State University and is playing in her first USGA championship.
“It was extremely tough when we teed off,” said Huarte, who was part of the last grouping off the first hole in the morning wave at 9:40 a.m. “With the wind, I was trying to keep it in play. You face some par-3 that were mini-par-4s and some par-5s on the back, [like] No. 13, that [played like] a par 6.”
Wendi Golden, of Bradenton, Fla., was another shot back at 152 following a 78, while 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur medalist Tobi Herron, of Columbus, Ind., stood at 153 (72-81) and appeared in solid position for match play.
Lucy Nunn (71), Mariko Makabe (72), Robin Burke (72) and defending champion Ellen Port (76) are among 66 other players who had afternoon starting times. Nunn joined Woodard as the only other golfer to break par on Saturday.
Michael Trostel is the curator/historian at the USGA Museum. Email him at email@example.com.