Sherry G. Herman, 51, of Farmingdale, N.J., scored a 4-and-3 victory over Carolyn Creekmore, 57, of Dallas, Texas, to claim the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur title at The Homestead’s 5,515-yard, par-70 Cascades Course in Hot Springs, Va.
Herman took home the most significant title of her golf career.
It’s surreal right now — it’s just surreal, said Herman, who also won the 2009 North & South Senior Women’s Amateur. I wanted this so much … It’s a dream come true and I don’t know how to react when a dream comes true. It’s just so hard and so I’m very grateful. I’m thrilled beyond words.
In claiming the title, Herman showed composure on the second nine, winning four of the first five holes to take a 4-up lead and take command of the title match.
With her powerful and efficient swing, Herman won the par-4 10th hole by making a 5-foot birdie putt to go 1 up and take her first lead of the match.
Creekmore, who showed calm on the rolling greens all week long, had a great opportunity for a halve at the par-3 11th, but her 7-footer came up a rotation short of falling.
Despite driving it in the second cut of rough on holes 12, 13 and 14, Herman muscled her approaches onto the greens for three consecutive wins. At the par-4 12th, she dislodged her second shot from a tangly lie and won the hole with a par. Creekmore, meanwhile, hit her approach from the middle of the fairway into the right greenside bunker and was unable to get up and down.
At the par-4 13th, Herman’s tee shot hugged the water hazard lining the left side of the hole but it landed safely. She then lofted her second shot onto the green and went to 3 up after Creekmore’s breaking par putt for a halve slid by the hole.
After driving it left at the par-4 14th, Herman moved to dormie-4 by again escaping the thick second cut, finding the green with her approach. Creekmore’s approach found the greenside bunker for the second time in three holes and her 6-foot putt for par and a halve narrowly missed.
I just started hitting it bad, Creekmore said. She made pars and I hit it poorly and she didn’t. And my putting was less than exceptional.
Herman, meanwhile, elected to play aggressively on holes that would allow ambitious tee shots to set up her approaches.
My mindset is to hit greens, always, Herman said. Even if my opponent is in the bunker or wherever, when I play safe, it usually doesn’t work out.
Herman played a smart shot at the demanding par-3 15th hole, leaving herself a straightforward chip shot at the narrow chute of a hole that she played to 5 feet right of the flagstick. Creekmore drained her 10-footer for par, but it was too late as Herman sank the winning putt for a halve.
Creekmore, who played steadily the entire week, enjoyed a terrific ball-striking day on the first nine and took a 1-up lead at the par-4 sixth hole.
Her first major mishap came at the par-3 eighth, where her tee shot found a buried lie in a greenside bunker. She did well to blast her ball over the green, but her chip went well past and she lost the hole, returning the match to all-square.
The turn of events was significant to the outcome of the match, according to Herman.
Because she was very solid until then, that was the first sign that maybe she could miss a shot and miss a green, Herman said. That was the first sign to me that maybe I have a chance, that I can do this.