Cathy Mockett (now Westerberg) only competed in one U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, but the former University of Tulsa standout made the most of her lone appearance in 1990, defeating Barbara Blanchar, of Columbia, Mo., 5 and 4, at Hyland Hills Golf Course in Westminster, Colo. It was Mockett’s second USGA title, as the native of Newport Beach, Calif., had claimed the 1984 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Mill Creek Country Club in Bothell, Wash. Mockett turned pro in 1991 and played on the LPGA Tour from 1993-2000. She met her husband, Rick, during a pro-am on the Futures Tour in Schenectady, N.Y., and today lives in East Longmeadow, Mass., where she occasionally provides golf instruction. Mockett has competed in 18 USGA championships, including five U.S. Women’s Opens.
Did your experience of winning the U.S. Girls’ Junior help during the WAPL Championship?
It probably did. I played a lot of match play growing up and I tended to be a better match-play player than I was in stroke play. But I had been playing USGA events since age 12. I don’t think Barbara [Blanchar] had as much experience [with match play], so I kind of knew I had the upper hand.
In the championship match, you were the equivalent of 5 under par – with concessions – over the 14 holes, including an eagle-3 at the 12th hole. Just how well were you playing?
I played great that day. I don’t remember which USGA official came up to me when it was all said and done and she said she had never seen anyone drive the ball as well as I did. And some of those holes were pretty tight. It all came together.
You grew up playing at Newport Beach Country Club, so how did you become eligible for the WAPL?
When I transferred to Tulsa [from the University of Southern California], I had to establish residency there and was working at Page Belcher Golf Course, a public course. My parents didn’t have the membership anymore at Newport. So eligibility-wise, it allowed me to play in it.
What made you transfer from USC to Tulsa?
I left USC in the middle of my sophomore year. I was at a point in my golf career where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play golf anymore. I was really unhappy. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do. I left and went to a junior college for a semester. A lot of my good friends played for Tulsa at that time, which is where I should have gone in the first place. The year that I transferred (1988), Tulsa had won nationals. I rode around in a golf cart with [Coach] Dale McNamara and the next thing I knew I was transferring to Tulsa.
What kind of confidence did you gain from the WAPL victory?
That actually was the summer that turned my golf career around. In addition to winning [the WAPL], I won the Trans-National. Dale McNamara really turned my attitude and my golf game around and when I came into that summer, I was just playing great. That win solidified the fact that I wanted to continue golf and play professionally. It pushed me over the hump. To win another USGA event … the USGA is just very near and dear to my heart. To win that one said that I had what it takes to turn professional.
You were a second alternate for the 1990 USA Curtis Cup Team. Did you entertain thoughts of staying an amateur for the 1992 Curtis Cup?
I was torn at the time because I knew I was a candidate for Curtis Cup and the World [Amateur Team Championship]. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have held off [turning professional in 1991] and gone off and played in those [events] and just waited.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.