San Antonio – For most of Tuesday, Debbie Adams couldn’t get the thought out of her head.
Win two matches.
Playing in her third U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, Adams, 45, knew the rewards for reaching the quarterfinals.
Anyone advancing to the final eight receives an exemption into next year’s championship at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, N.C., which happens to be Adams’ hometown and club.
“That’s all I wanted to do was come to this tournament and get exempt,” said an elated Adams after posting a 3-and-2 third-round win over Wendi Golden. “That’s exactly what I was aiming for.
“So many people [at home] have asked me, ‘Are you in it? Are you playing?’ I told them, ‘No, I have to qualify.’ They said, ‘Oh you’ll qualify.’”
That no longer is an issue for the Ohio State graduate, who has won two Florida Women’s Amateurs and one Carolina Women’s Amateur, in 2004 at the Country Club of Asheville.
For several years, Adams didn’t play much competitive golf while raising her two children, who are now 20 (Stacey) and 17 (Scott). Stacey currently plays at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, while Scott is a high school junior with aspirations of earning a golf scholarship. Adams’ husband, Anthony, was the stroke-play medalist at the 1983 U.S. Junior Amateur at Saucon Valley C.C. in Bethlehem, Pa., and competed briefly on the Canadian Tour before deciding the lifestyle wasn’t for him.
The two met at Ohio State, where Debbie claimed three college tournament titles.
Adams has represented the U.S. four times at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, which draws 9,000 Jewish athletes from around the globe every four years in an Olympic-style competition. Adams said it’s the third-largest sporting event behind the Olympics and Pan-American Games. In 1993, she won a gold medal and next year, she will participate along with her two children.
“It was a great experience,” she said.
But that could be trumped by playing the 2013 Women’s Mid-Am on her home course.
Of course, Adams, who faces Stacy Dennis in the semifinals on Wednesday morning, still has an opportunity to win this year’s championship.
“The pressure is off,” she said. “I’m excited now.”
As a prosecutor – or crown counsel as they call it in Canada – for the Ministry of Justice of British Columbia, Christina Proteau is accustomed to putting people away.
“I’ve sent some people to quite a bit of jail time,” said Proteau, who added that her harshest sentence was “a couple of years.”
She’s doing a good job of sending people home this week at the Women’s Mid-Amateur.
Proteau knocked out defending champion and four-time winner Ellen Port on Tuesday afternoon, 3 and 1. Earlier in the day, she beat Liisa Kelo Escartin, 4 and 3.
The 29-year-old from Port Alberni, B.C., is the youngest of the remaining quarterfinalists. It’s an unusual position for Proteau, especially when she plays in amateur competitions in Canada.
“It’s nice to be back on the other end,” said Proteau, who played collegiately at the University of New Mexico before earning her law degree at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. “Back home … I’m usually one of the grandmothers relatively speaking to the 14-year-olds.”
Proteau, who is competing in her second USGA event, gained confidence from qualifying for last year’s U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. Although she missed the cut by one, that experience has paid dividends this week.
“My husband [and caddie] kept reminding me on the back nine,” said Proteau, “that you’ve dealt with the pressure of trying to make the cut at the [Women’s] Open. That gave me some confidence. That was the trip of a lifetime.”
Three more wins and Proteau would join compatriot Mary Ann Lapointe, a member of Canada’s Golf Hall of Fame, as the only foreign-born winners of the Women’s Mid-Amateur. Last month, Garrett Rank of Ontario was a finalist at the U.S. Mid-Amateur, losing to Nathan Smith, 1 down, at Conway Farms in suburban Chicago.
“We’ll see what the next couple of days bring,” said Proteau.
Odds and Ends
Liz Waynick, of Scottsdale, Ariz., finally saw her consecutive streak of not losing a hole on Briggs Ranch’s first nine end at the par-5 seventh hole of her third-round match against Stefi Markovich. The streak ended when Markovich birdied the hole. Waynick won the match in 21 holes… Stacy Dennis, of Huntsville, is the only remaining Texan in the field. Dennis beat Tobi Herron in the third round. Local favorite Kelley Nattoli was eliminated by three-time champion Meghan Stasi, while 2010 USGA Senior Amateur champion Mina Hardin, of Fort Worth, was ousted by 2004 champion Corey Weworski… Stasi (39) played the most holes on Tuesday, while Andrea Kraus, of Baltimore played the fewest (30).
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.