ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Lin McMillan never was much for cruises, anyway.
So when she received an email last week that she had earned entry into the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, it didn’t matter to McMillan that she was on a cruise ship, far from a port of call.
“We left on Saturday and I got the email on Sunday,” said McMillan, of Palm Coast, Fla. “My boyfriend, (David Culver) said, ‘you’ve got to play in it.’ We were out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.”
It took a lot of doing, but McMillan got to the Women’s Mid-Amateur, and she made the most of the opportunity, reaching match play and winning one match before she fell in Tuesday’s second round to 2009 champion Martha Leach, 1 up.
If McMillan wasn’t so determined to play, she might have abandoned the odyssey from ocean to Asheville.
She left the cruise ship two days after receiving the initial e-mail, disembarking in Jamaica. She had already bought a plane ticket to Orlando so she could stop at home to pick up her clothes and clubs. Unfortunately, the ticket she purchased was for the wrong airport in Jamaica. She had to rebook and fly out of Kingston. She couldn’t fly directly to Asheville from Orlando, so she went into Greenville, S.C., and drove a van, the only rental option available, the rest of the way. She got a room – only one night was available – and figured she would sort out the rest of it later.
“I started wondering, can this be any harder?” said McMillan. “I was just so happy to be able to come and play in the tournament, though. This is what golfers are about; you learn how to navigate through anything.”
McMillan has played in several USGA championships, including three in 2012 alone: the Senior Women’s Amateur, the Women’s Amateur Public Links and the Women’s Mid-Am.
“It was worth the trip to play in a USGA event,” she said. “I don’t care where it is; if I have an opportunity to play in it, I’m going to be there.”
McMillan qualified as the No. 21 seed with rounds of 79-80, then defeated Olivia Slutzky, of Newport Beach, Calif., 4 and 3, in the first round. On Tuesday, she faced a familiar foe in Leach.
“We had played each other out at CordeValle in the Senior Women’s Amateur two weeks ago,” said McMillan. “Neither one of us played our A game today, but our match was close, right to the very last putt. I parred No. 17 to get within one, and then I left my putt on the last hole straight in and short from 10 feet. She beat me on the 18th hole – and in the second round – just like two weeks ago. It felt like déjà vu.”
The Women’s Mid-Amateur extends McMillan’s golf schedule to a fourth consecutive week, since she was already planning to play in the Eastern Senior Amateur next week in Aiken, S.C., followed by the Southeastern Women’s Amateur Team Championship and ending with the Southern Women’s Senior in Tuscaloosa, Ala., at the end of October.
“I’ve got to get home, get packed again and get back in the car,” McMillan said. “This gave me one more week that I wasn’t expecting.”
It beats an ocean cruise any day.
Adams Falls On 19th Hole
Both Biltmore Forest Country Club members in the field reached match play, and both won their first-round matches. But the final local hope was dashed when Debbie Adams fell to Margaret Shirley in 19 holes in the third round on Tuesday evening.
Brenda Corrie Kuehn, the other BFCC member, was defeated earlier Tuesday in the second round, 3 and 2, by Linda Jeffery of Abilene, Texas. Adams had defeated Tracy Welch, of Boston, 3 and 2, earlier.
Shirley and Adams played a closely contested match in which Adams had a couple of opportunities to advance.
“I had a 4-footer on 17 and a 4-footer on 18, but they were not straight putts,” said Adams, 46, who advanced to the quarterfinals in this championship last year. “I played nicely. It was a really good match; it was 1 up, even, 1 up … we were just battling all day.”
Shirley advances to play Andrea Kraus, of Baltimore, a friend of Adams’ who is staying with her this week. Kraus defeated Corey Weworski, of Carlsbad, Calif., 6 and 5.
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.