Wichita, Kan. – CarolRobertson’s dreams of winning a USGA championship are becoming closer to reality with each passing day.
The 27-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., resident posted two victories in quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Wednesday and will play for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship title on Thursday morning at Wichita Country Club (Kan.).
Robertson, making her first start in the championship, will face Meghan Stasi, 32, of Oakland Park, Fla., twice a winner of the Women’s Mid-Amateur, in the scheduled 18-hole deciding match, set to begin at 9 a.m. CDT.
In earning the finals appearance, Robertson ousted Robin Burke, of Houston, Texas, 5 and 4 in the semifinals. Robertson was the stroke-play equivalent of two under par and built her lead to 3 up with a win at No. 8, and an ensuing birdie-win at the par-5 10th hole. Her lead ballooned to a match-high 4 up after claiming No. 13, before she closed the match by draining a slick, breaking downhill 6-foot birdie putt at the par-4 14th hole.
Has Robertson found her golf destiny in Wichita? Wichita? The same place where Steve Martin and John Candy got stuck in a memorable scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Well, yes, maybe.
The past month has been a whirlwind for Robertson, the 2006 Virginia State Golf Association Women’s Amateur champion. She was officially reinstated as an amateur on Sept. 5, and qualified for the Women’s Mid-Amateur two days later at Rivermont Golf and Country Club in Johns Creek, Ga. In her return to amateur golf, Robertson was the fifth-low qualifier for match play and has re-introduced herself to amateur golf by winning five matches in reaching the final.
It’s an unbelievable feeling to make it this far, said Robertson, the assistant women’s golf coach at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. Whatever happens [Thursday], I just have to make sure I stay good and proud of myself because I’ve really accomplished some great things this week. I have to go out and enjoy it.
Robertson played the Futures Tour from 2007-09, regrouped and sat out a year playing competitively before being regaining her amateur status. In advancing through match play, she’s been consistently long off the tee, setting up short-iron approaches. All told, Wichita has turned into a field of dreams.
My goal this week was – this – to give myself a chance, said Robertson, the energy in her voice rising. It feels so good after all this time. It’s been a while since I’ve actually been really proud of the way I play golf. My heart’s really in this. I can tell – I can feel it – and I’m playing like it is.
That’s for sure. Robertson is showing little rust, leading wire-to-wire in both of her victories on Wednesday, including posting a 4-and-3 quarterfinal win over Sydney Wells of Menominee, Mich.
Robertson’s husband, Jason, competed in the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, N.Y., earlier in the week and he’d thought about flying to Kansas after failing to qualify for match play.
He’d been trying to come out the whole week, Carol said with a laugh. I said, ‘I’d love to have you here, but I only want to worry about [the championship].’ It would just be so much pressure to know he’s flying out, and if I don’t win a match, then we have to turn right around and go home. I didn’t want to have any outside worries with people coming.
Her play over the past five days has changed all that; Jason, along with Carol’s mother and father, flew out on Wednesday evening and will be on hand for the final.
Now, no matter what happens, I’m glad that they’re going to be here, Robertson said.
Stasi, the 2006 and 2007 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, earned her third final appearance in the past five years by scoring a 4-and-3 victory over Brooke Williams of Fort Worth, Texas, in the semifinals.
She’s solid. She’s a great player and if we both have our ‘A’ games, it’s going to be a really good match, Robertson said.