SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Lisa McGill, 54, of Philadelphia, defeated stroke-play medalist Akemi Khaiat, and defending champion Ellen Port, 52, of St. Louis, advanced to the third round of match play on Tuesday at the 52nd USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at CordeValle.
McGill, who was a semifinalist at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, took three of the last four holes in a back-and-forth match with Khaiat, 50, of Japan, to win, 1 up.
“Everyone said I could do it because all the pressure was on them,” said McGill, who has played in more than 25 USGA championships. “I didn’t feel any pressure today. I felt great because I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. I didn’t play that well yesterday. Now, I have hope.”
After Khaiat uncharacteristically ran her lengthy downhill birdie putt 10 feet past the hole and then missed the comeback putt, McGill made a 3-foot par putt to win the match at the 5,996-yard, par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout.
“She’s awesome with her putting,” said McGill, who was runner-up at the 2013 Pennsylvania Senior Women’s Amateur, of Khaiat. “I was surprised. I’m astounded that I won.”
Khaiat, a Japanese citizen who lives and works in Los Angeles, hit her short approach shot 35 feet past the hole on the par-5 18th, which is guarded by a water hazard.
“On 18, I just didn’t want to hit in the water,” said Khaiat, who is a seven-time club champion at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. “I chose the wrong club. Then with the putt, it was a downhill lie. We didn’t think it was going to be that fast. Today, I didn’t give it away. She was a grinder. I learned a lesson. Now, I know how to do match play.”
Port, who won the 2012 championship at Hershey (Pa.) Country Club for her fifth USGA title, defeated Patty Moore, 63, of Charlotte, N.C., 4 and 3.
“I played well,” said Port, a high school teacher and coach who will captain the 2014 USA Curtis Cup Team. “I’ve been driving the ball well. I missed one fairway and maybe a couple greens. I was pure with my irons. Patty is a competitor. We had a real good match.”
With the match all square through 11 holes, Port won four consecutive holes, two with birdies, to close out the match.
“I got on a little run,” said Port, who has won the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur four times. “My caddie Carlos (Cortez) did unbelievable on the yardage. Club selection is difficult in the wind and I think I did that well. I feel like Carlos and I did a lot of good things out there today.”
Two other past champions advanced to the third round: Sherry Herman, of Holmdel, N.J., who edged 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Joan Higgins, and Mina Hardin, of Fort Worth, Texas, who beat Cindy Morris, of Portsmouth, Va., 2 and 1.
Martha Leach, of Hebron, Ky., the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, Corey Weworski, of Carlsbad, Calif., the 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, and Mary Ann Hayward, of Canada, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, also advanced.
Past USGA champions who lost second-round matches were: Mary Budke, of Palm Springs, Calif., the 1972 U.S. Women’s Amateur winner, who dropped a 3-and-2 decision to Caryn Wilson, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., and 2011 Senior Women’s Amateur champion Terry Frohnmayer, of Salem, Ore., who lost in 19 holes to Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, Fla.
The two Northern California representatives were both eliminated. Lynne Cowan, 50, of Rocklin, a golf sales representative who attended San Jose State, lost to Tanna Richard, 56, of Fort Smith, Ark., 2 and 1. Marianne Towersey, 62, of Pebble Beach, was defeated by Susan Cohn, 50, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 2 and 1.