Wichita, Kan. -- Meghan Stasi didn't say the words, but the cliches were implied.
Stay in the moment. Don't get ahead of yourself. Take it one at a time.
Moments earlier Wednesday afternoon, Stasi rolled in a 4-foot par putt to complete a 4-and-3 victory over Brooke Williams in the semifinals of the 24th U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur at Wichita Country Club.
It was another solid, steady match-play victory for the 32-year-old Oakland Park, Fla., resident, one that put her at the doorstep of a third Women's Mid-Am title. The final piece to that puzzle awaits Thursday morning, when Stasi will face recently reinstated amateur Carol Robertson of Virginia Beach, Va., in the 18-hole final.
Win that one and Stasi, the 2006 and 2007 champion, will match Ellen Port (1995, 1996 and 2000) and Sarah LeBrun Ingram (1991, 1993 and 1994) for the most Women's Mid-Am titles in the history of the championship for golfers 25 and older.
"The chances are a lot better now," Stasi conceded after rebuking the notion that No. 3 has been on her mind this week. "It's still not over, though."
Stasi, who won her titles as Meghan Bolger in 2006 at Old Waverly in West Point, Miss., and in 2007 at Desert Forest in Carefree, Ariz., certainly understands the tenuous nature of working through a 64-player match-play bracket. At midday on the 60-year-old, William H. Diddel layout, Stasi stood 1 down on the 17th tee in the quarterfinals against 2009 runner-up Laura Coble of Augusta, Ga.
Stasi erased the deficit with a solid par on the 156-yard hole, then put pressure on Coble with a splendid approach to the 379-yard 18th that settled 4 feet from the hole.
Coble countered with a two-putt par from the back fringe, showing guts after her birdie attempt with a hybrid club scooted 10 feet past. But Stasi delivered on the birdie putt, buckling her knees as the ball eased into the hole.
There was no need for late heroics from Stasi in the semifinals.
Williams, an All-American at LSU in 2005, entered match play after posting a 36-hole qualifying score of 159. But her march through the bracket had been progressively strong, with a 6-and-5 victory over Katy Treadwell of Oklahoma City, Okla., in Tuesday's round of 16, and a 6-and-4 victory over 2004 USGA Senior Women's Amateur champion Carolyn Creekmore in the quarters.
However, Williams made the first misstep against Stasi, blading a pitch shot across the green at the par-3 third that eventually forced her to concede the hole. Two holes later, Stasi seized a 2-up lead by draining a 25-foot birdie, punctuating it with a fist pump.
"That definitely was a nice way to start after how tight the morning match was," Stasi said. "But I knew I would have to continue to play well."
Indeed, Williams had her moments, hitting her approach to within 6 feet at the par-4 seventh. She made the birdie putt to win the hole. At the par-4 12th, Williams landed her approach 5 feet from the hole and rolled in the birdie after Stasi missed her birdie try.
It was the stretch in between that gave Stasi the upper hand. Stasi won the par-5 ninth with a par after Williams hit her second shot into a fairway bunker and her fourth over the back of the green. Stasi reached the par-5 10th in two and won the hole to go 3 up. Then Williams lost the par-3 11th when her 3-foot par putt curled around the right edge of the hole.
"I just had a couple little things go wrong," said the 27-year-old Williams, who was playing in her first Women's Mid-Am. "I wouldn't say I played badly. But I knew I was going to have to make birdies after I got 3 down because Meghan didn't seem to be making anything worse than pars."
Stasi's final par secured another trip to the final. After Williams failed to get up and down from the back of the 15th green, Stasi rolled in a putt similar in length to the one that got her through the quarters against Coble.
On Thursday, the final hurdle is Robertson, who spent two years on the Futures Tour and got her amateur status back on Sept. 5.
"I'm not familiar with Carol," Stasi said. "But she's played well if she's played at that level."
Scott Paske is a freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA championship sites.