Normally, players don’t make many requests of reporters, but Martina Gavier couldn’t resist.
After two marathon matches on Thursday, culminating with a 21-hole quarterfinal round victory over Caroline Powers, the 21-year-old Argentinean was transported back to the clubhouse by a rules official where she slowly climbed out of a cart and was quickly cornered by a few reporters.
First, Gavier had a question of her own to the scribes: “Can we sit?”
No one could blame the rising senior at Kent State University for wanting to temporarily return to even the rudimentary solace of a golf cart. After all, she’d just played 41 holes to score two match-play wins, starting with a 20-hole triumph over Notre Dame junior and local favorite Becca Huffer in the morning round of 32.
For Gavier, the victories were taxing, both mentally and physically. In both instances, she had to answer 2-hole deficits on the second nine to force extra holes. She ended the match against Huffer by sinking a putt from the fringe, and then later holed a 16-footer for birdie to overcome Powers. For Gavier, the overtime sessions were well worth the return, though “survive and advance” took on a whole new meaning.
“I was feeling pretty confident in the morning,” Gavier says, “but I started to feel tired and lose focus in the afternoon. I just had to grind it out.”
Gavier played eight more holes on Thursday than her quarterfinal round opponent tomorrow, Ellen Mueller, a senior at the University of Oklahoma, but the game plan is to sleep fast, be ready for her 7:50 a.m. match on Friday and, most of all, savor what’s already been a memorable ride.
“This is pretty sweet. I love match play. I really do,” Gavier says. “To be in the quarterfinals of a USGA championship is pretty amazing.”
As if the already-fesity Gavier needs a shot of inspiration, she has something that will easily trump an extra hot, no foam, triple-shot latte in the form of Argentina’s quarterfinal round match in the World Cup on Sunday.
“I’m not superstitious or anything, but if I win, maybe that will mean something.”
It’s a thought. Ever gregarious, she pondered her victory as the latest submission to the Passionate Sports Fan Dictionary for a moment.
“No,” she allowed.
It will be back to the task in a few short hours; she’s one of eight players with their title hopes still alive.
“I’m 100 percent into this right now,” Gavier said. “I just love to compete and want to make the most of it. I’m very happy I’m here. I played two very good rounds of golf. Whatever happens, happens, but I’m just going to give it my best.”