U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Storylines: USGA Senior Women’s Am September 8, 2011 By USGA

Brenda Williams, 51, of Minnetrista, Minn., had a horrifying experience last year when she was detained, handcuffed and held at gunpoint at the border as she entered the U.S. from Canada. Fortunately, it was a case of mistaken identity. 

Beatriz Arenas, 63, wins the honor for having travelled the greatest distance to play in this championship. She lives in Guatemala, Guatemala. She played on Guatemala’s Women’s World Amateur team 10 times and was a quarterfinalist in this championship in 2008. 

Tina Barker, 52, of Vacaville, Calif., caddied for the legendary Louise Suggs in the Dinah Shore championship in 1989. The year before, she caddied for tennis great Althea Gibson, an LPGA professional who was seeking to earn her players card. 

Jamie Berger, 54, of Anchorage, Alaska, had an emotional reaction to playing in her first USGA championship. When she drove onto the grounds of Berkeley Hall Country Club in Bluffton, S.C., as a member of the 2005 Alaska Women’s State Team, she cried. 

Debbie Blount, 53, of Atlanta is more thrilled to be here than many contestants. It’s her first time qualifying for a USGA championship and she has been trying to qualify for 12 years. When she qualified for this championship, she burst into tears.  She’s well prepared, wardrobe-wise. Blount has a collection of more than 100 pairs of golf shoes. 

Patricia Brogdon, 57, of Garner, N.C., has played golf left-handed and cross-handed. She’s recorded nine holes-in-one. 

Taffy Brower, 66, of Boynton Beach, Fla., once played in a four-ball match with USGA champions Marlene Streit, Louise Suggs and JoAnne Carner at The Breakers in Palm Beach.  

Barbara Byrnes, 57, of Mesa, Ariz., past president of the Arizona Women’s Golf Association, once became locked in a bathroom during a tournament round when the latch broke. After friends broke down the door to help her escape, she resumed play and won the tournament. 

Laura Carson, 55, of Lake Bluff, Ill., was the early leader in the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open in Plainfield, N.J. A member of the first group in Thursday’s first round, she was the only player in her group to birdie the first hole. 

Pat Cornett, 57, of Mill Valley, Calif., a two-time member of the USA Curtis Cup team, has been named captain of the 2012 Curtis Cup team. 

Denise Desilet, 57, of Wichita, Kan., was president of the Kansas Women’s Golf Association 2006-2008. 

Kim Dickerson, 52, of Palatine, Ill., says she is honored to play in this championship and grateful to Dave, her husband of 30 years, who is affectionately known as, The Wallet. 

Kim Eaton, 52, of Tempe, Ariz., is a former member of the police force. She says she was on patrol one night when a motorist pulled her over to report underage drinking in a nearby bar. The problem was, however, that the motorist was inebriated. Eaton arrested him. 

Nadine Elliott, 55, of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., said she has a loop in her swing that her husband, Steve, calls a Furyk. At the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic a few years ago, Nadine asked Jim Furyk for his autograph and told him she had an unorthodox swing like his. Furyk said, I am so sorry. Elliott told him not to worry; she had a handicap index of 2 and was club champion. 

Ann Fulginiti, 58, of Plantation, Fla., won the Philadelphia Women’s Amateur 11 times and was one of the golfers honored at Philadelphia’s Centennial Tribute to Golf in 2000. 

Annette Gaiotti, 58, of Salt Lake City, Utah, has a son, Jared Goldberg, who is a member of the U.S. ski team. 

Cheryl Grigg, 54, of Sea Island, Ga., has had two holes-in-one but more impressive is the fact that she has also recorded two double eagles, which are rarer. 

Mary Ann Hayward, 51, of Ontario, Canada, was nicknamed The Rocket, after a friendly game of hockey with her golf friends. Apparently, Hayward said, my skating ability wasn’t quite what I professed it to be! Hayward was the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion in 2005. 

Joan Higgins, 55, of Glendora, Calif., the 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, was on her city’s American Little League board of directors for 10 years. 

Dawn Hollingsworth, 57, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., was a member of the first women’s golf team at the University of Oklahoma, 1975-76, and was named Most Valuable Player in 1976. She is an Architectural Lighting Designer, best known for her design of the iconic color-changing light towers at LAX airport in Los Angeles. 

Deborah Jamgochian, 57, of Greenwich, Conn., was 16 years old when she met Arnold Palmer in his trophy room at Latrobe Country Club. I always thought I was going to grow up and marry him someday, said Jamgochian. 

Leigh Klasse, 51, of St. Anthony, Minn., medalist in this championship in 2010, says her favorite tournament is The Rutabaga Scramble in Cumberland, Wis., where she has a cabin. It’s her favorite because her mother and father join her on their three-person team. 

Andrea Kraus, 50, of Baltimore, Md., an attorney, has worked pro bono at a domestic violence legal clinic for the past two years. 

Pamela Kuong, 50, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., has served for 16 years on the board of directors of the MGH-ESSCO Breast Cancer Research Fund. 

Martha Lang, 58, of Birmingham, Ala., the 1988 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, is chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee. 

Maggie Leef, 51, of Brookfield, Wis., traveled to Red Hill, South Africa, in October of last year. She worked with Living Hope, a ministry working to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in townships near Cape Town, South Africa. 

Judy Miller, 61, of Tucson, Ariz., has an unusual pet, a desert tortoise named Arlow. He’s 25 years old. 

Sue O’Connor, 54, of Lake Bluff, Ill., rode a bicycle from Seattle to Atlantic City, N.J., in 1985 to raise funds for the American Lung Association. A former ski instructor, one of her students was actor/film director Clint Eastwood, but she didn’t recognize him. 

Linda Pearson, 56, of Glendale, Calif., plays golf left-handed and right-handed. Her handicap index as a right-hander is 7. From the other side she’s a 1. 

Georgia Pierce, 51, of Boston, Mass., was struck by lightning and survived. Several years ago she was running a charity golf tournament when she became one of three people hit by the bolt. All were rushed to the hospital and all survived. Oddly, the lightning bolt first shattered a 6-foot diameter boulder, leaving a 1-foot in diameter rock in its crater. A fire chief told Pierce the fact that the bolt split when it hit the boulder probably saved the victims’ lives. The rock now sits in Pierce’s garden. 

Karen Richardson, 63, of Georgetown, Mass., is an all-around athlete. She plays slow-pitch softball all over the nation, plays tennis, and officiates fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball and high school field hockey. She also rides a motorcycle. 

Mary Riley, 57, of Perry, Ga., works as a Woodyard Process Operator Technician in a pulp mill. She can operate any piece of mobile equipment in the woodyard, including front-end loaders, bulldozers and forklifts. 

Shelley Savage, 57, of Alexandria, Va., is a registered nurse who spent 26 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She served on the Navy’s east coast based hospital ship during Desert Shield and Desert Storm and was also deployed in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991. 

Sherry Smith, 50, of Irvine, Calif., attended California State University – Long Beach on a field hockey scholarship. Her team won the national championship in 1979. 

Marlene Summer, 57, of Montgomery, Texas, shocked family and friends when she qualified for the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur after being bedridden for five months. She had to learn to walk again after fighting a rare auto-immune disease that attacks muscle tissue. The qualifying round was the first round of golf she had walked in more than two years. 

Renee Theiler-Reichie, 50, of Fallbrook, Calif., is a brown belt in karate. 

Joanne Travis, 66, of Payson, Ariz., volunteers for Wild at Heart, rehabilitation sanctuary for large birds such as owls and hawks in Phoenix. She once had to capture a Great Blue Heron that was as large as she was, but both emerged unscathed. She loves to release the rehabilitated birds into the wild and says many spectators show up for the release.