ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Christina Proteau sits atop the leader board at 3-over-par 74 following Saturday’s morning wave of stroke play for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at the par-71 Biltmore Forest Country Club.
Proteau, 30, of Canada, carded one birdie and four bogeys while battling a mystery illness that arose overnight. However, the illness was not enough to dampen her spirits – or play havoc with her golf game.
“Beware of the sick golfer,” said Proteau with a smile. “If you're distracted by something else, sometimes things can work out.”
Proteau, a criminal prosecutor for the British Columbia Ministry of Justice, is competing in her second U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. She fell in the quarterfinals in 2012 at Briggs Ranch Golf Club in San Antonio, after she eliminated four-time Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Ellen Port in the third round. Proteau also qualified for the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor, where she missed the cut by one stroke, and is a four-time Canadian Women’s Mid-Amateur champion.
Rachel Smith, 25, of Mansfield, Texas, made the turn at two under, having converted three birdies to one bogey (she started on No. 10). A few wayward tee shots on her inward nine and a double bogey on the par-4 second, where her putter “decided to commit mutiny,” dropped Smith to 4-over 75, alone in second among the morning grouping, one stroke behind Proteau.
Smith is competing in her second USGA championship. Smith, a P.J. Boatwright intern with the Texas Women’s Golf Association, failed to reach match play at the 2005 U.S. Girls’ Junior at BanBury Golf Club in Eagle, Idaho.
Four-time and defending Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi, 35, of Oakland Park, Fla., returned what she termed her “best round of 76 ever.” With club member and Champions Tour player Morris Hatalsky on her bag, Stasi struggled off the tee and relied on the strength of her putting game to save her round, carding one birdie to six bogeys.
Margaret Shirley, of Roswell, Ga., joined Stasi at 76, while Lauren Todd, of Flagstaff, Ariz., was alone at 77 and Caryn Wilson, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., had the lone 78 of the morning.
Play was delayed for one hour on Saturday morning due to heavy fog that blanketed the Biltmore Forest course.
Twelve of the 66 players in the morning wave broke 80. Sixty-six players remain on the course for the afternoon wave, including Biltmore Forest member and 2012 quarterfinalist Debbie Adams, 2010 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion Mina Hardin and 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Martha Leach.
The 2013 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship is open to female amateur golfers who have reached their 25th birthday by Oct. 5. It consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Christina Lance is the assistant manager of communications for the USGA. Email her at email@example.com.