ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Julia Potter, Stefi Markovich, Meghan Stasi and Margaret Shirley reached the semifinals of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship on Wednesday morning at the par-71 Biltmore Forest Country Club.
Stroke-play medalist Potter, 25, of Granger, Ind., never trailed en route to a 3-and-2 victory over Tara Joy-Connelly. She faces Markovich, 38, of Canada, who advanced with a 1-up win over 2009 Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Martha Leach, on Wednesday afternoon.
Four-time champion Stasi, 35, of Oakland Park, Fla., needed 19 holes to beat a hard-charging Laura Coble. Her semifinal opponent, Shirley, 27, of Roswell, Ga., cruised to a 5-and-4 win over Andrea Kraus.
Potter won the first two holes, but Joy-Connelly was able to square the match through six. Potter regained the lead for good with a par at the par-3 ninth, though neither player was particularly at the top of her game.
“We really weren't playing that great. I won a hole with a bogey, she won a hole with a bogey,” said Potter, a reinstated amateur and 2011 graduate of the University of Missouri. “We're better players than that. That's definitely not how you want to win a hole.”
Markovich endured a back-and-forth battle with Leach, with the players only halving five of 18 holes. With the match all square on No. 18, Leach sent her tee shot under a tree to the right of the fairway. Leach reached the green in three, but missed her par attempt, and Markovich made a two-putt par for the 1-up victory.
“We had give and take,” said Markovich, who won the 2013 Ontario Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. “It was great competition and great sportsmanship.”
Stasi was 3 up with three holes to play over Coble, who finished off her round-of-16 victory over Linda Jeffery on Wednesday morning following Tuesday’s suspension due to darkness. But Stasi’s weeklong putting struggles plagued her final three holes, and Coble made a solid up-and-down par on No. 18 to send the match to extra holes.
At the 19th hole, Coble flew the green and stubbed her first pitch shot, but recovered for bogey. Stasi was able to convert her two-putt par for victory.
“It was just sloppy play for me for most of the day,” said Stasi, who improved to 34-3 in U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur match play. “I felt good out there. I just missed a few chips and putts. That's all it takes.”
Shirley took her first lead with a par 5 at the seventh hole and never looked back. She played even-par golf through 14 holes, with the usual match-play concessions, and even considered her two bogeys to be worthy of par on this difficult Biltmore Forest course.
“I played really well,” said Shirley, whose previous best Women’s Mid-Amateur finish was a third-round loss to Virginia Grimes in 2011. “I hit the ball really well, drove it well and putted well. That equals a good round.”
The semifinalists all receive exemptions into the 2014 and 2015 Women’s Mid-Amateurs, which will be conducted at Harbour Trees Golf Club in Noblesville, Ind., and Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, La., respectively.
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.