San Antonio – Meghan Stasi completed one of the greatest comebacks in championship history and Corey Weworski ousted qualifying medalist Dawn Woodard, 1 up, in the second round of match play on Tuesday at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at the 6,037-yard Briggs Ranch Golf Club.
Other second-round winners included defending and four-time champion Ellen Port and 2010 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion Mina Hardin.
Third-round matches began at 1:15 p.m. CDT on Tuesday. The winners will advance to the quarterfinals, which are scheduled to begin Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. CDT. The 18-hole final is scheduled for Thursday.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, for female golfers 25 years of age and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Just when it looked like the two top-seeded players would both fall, Stasi, 34, of Oakland Park, Fla., completed the most improbable of comebacks, winning five of her last six holes to square her match with Lynne Cowan, 49, of Davis, Calif.
Stasi and Cowan traded pars on the first two playoff holes, but after Cowan hit her tee shot on the par-3 third into the right trees and missed her 25-foot par bid, Stasi made a 4-foot putt to win the match in 21 holes.
“She played great,” said Stasi, of Cowan, who birdied four consecutive holes starting at the eighth. “I just kept my head down and kept plugging away. I was just trying to get to 18.
“I’ve never been that far down before, but I finally figured out something with my setup. I felt good after I teed off on 10 and knew I had a chance.”
Stasi went 5 down on 11 before she made her run starting at No. 13. She won four consecutive holes before the two halved the par-3 17th with 3s. Stasi then forced extra holes when Cowan missed the 18th green short and left and missed a 20-foot par putt from the fringe. Stasi two-putted for par to square the match.
She faces San Antonio resident Kelley Nittoli in the round of 16. Nittoli edged 1989 Women’s Mid-Am champion Robin W. Donnelley, 2 and 1.
Weworski, 50, of Carlsbad, Calif., did not lead in her match with Woodard, of Greer, S.C., until the 14th hole, but hit a clutch 7-iron approach on the 18th to within 15 feet. Her subsequent two-putt par to halve the hole preserved the 1-up victory.
When Weworski, the 2004 champion, saw Woodard on her half of the draw, she knew she would be in for a great test.
“I was looking forward to the challenge of going up against Dawn,” said Weworski, “She’s a great player who I’ve always respected. Now I’m up against another great golfer with lot of talent and a lot of trophies. I need to slay another giant.”
The “giant” Weworski speaks of is Hardin, 52, of Fort Worth, Texas, who has advanced to the quarterfinals or deeper five times in this championship, including a runner-up finish in 2001. Hardin earned her spot in the final 16 by defeating Martha Linscott, of Kansas City, Mo., 4 and 3.
The match was all square when Hardin knocked a 9-iron approach to within 5 feet for a birdie on the eighth hole. She followed that up with a clutch 35-foot par putt on the ninth to halve that hole.
“That really was a momentum changer for me,” said Hardin, who backed up the long par save with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 to seize control of the match.
Not to be overlooked in a wild morning of competition, Liz Waynick, 51, of Scottsdale, Az., won eight of her first nine holes in a near-record 9-and-7 victory against Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, Fla. It has been 35 years since Waynick has advanced past the second round of match play in a USGA championship. She last accomplished that feat as a 16-year-old at the 1976 U.S. Women’s Amateur where she lost to Nancy Lopez, 5 and 3, in the third round.
This year, Waynick has been getting ahead of her opponents early in matches. In her first two matches, Waynick has won 13 of the 18 holes she has played on Briggs Ranch’s outward nine, including eight of nine against Hiestand.
“I started off well and hit it close on a bunch of the holes,” said Waynick. “I just had it going today, it was all good.”
Waynick faces Stefi Markovich, of Canada, in the third round.
For the second match in a row, Port, 50, of St. Louis, jumped out to an early lead, winning five of her first six holes against Janet Moore, of Greenwood Village, Colo., en route to a 4-and-3 victory. Port previously defeated Moore, 5 and 4, in the 2002 Women’s Mid-Am at Eugene (Ore.) C.C.
“I’ve been putting very well this week,” said Port, who won the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur at Hershey (Pa.) C.C. last month. “I feel very comfortable with the speed of the greens and hit a couple of really good shots when I needed to.”
Port is vying to join Pearl Sinn and Jennifer Song as the only female golfers to win multiple USGA championships in the same year.
Michael Trostel is the curator/historian at the USGA Museum. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.