Kathy Hartwiger Wins U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, 2 Up September 26, 2002 | Eugene, Ore.

(USGA/John Mummert)

Kathy Hartwiger, 36, of Birmingham, Ala., won four consecutive holes with 1-putt greens and hung on to beat three-time champion Ellen Port, 41, of St. Louis, Mo., 2 up, in the final of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Eugene Country Club.

Hartwiger was 1 down after seven holes, but took the next four holes with two birdies and two pars to stand 3 up after the 11th hole. Port won holes 15 and 16 before Hartwiger closed the match with a winning par 4 on the last hole.

Hartwiger had reached the quarterfinals twice before (1996 and 1998), and tried to downplay the significance of reaching the 18-hole final.

“I spent all week making this something not so great because I didn’t want to be disappointed,” said Hartwiger, the mother of 3-year-old daughter, Erin, and 1-year-old son, Ben.

“After having kids, I really wasn’t interested in competitive golf anymore,” added Hartwiger, whose husband is an agronomist for the U.S. Golf Association. “But my husband kept asking me if I had played my best golf yet. Well, I played my best golf today.”

A three-time state amateur champion, Hartwiger reached the final by handily winning her previous five matches. She started the final by winning two of the first three holes, but Port gained the lead momentarily by winning three of the next four holes. From there, Hartwiger’s putter stole the show.

“She made everything she putted,” said Port, who watched as Hartwiger used just 28 putts for her round. “I didn’t make a putt all week and it caught up with me. I didn’t give myself a chance. Yes, it’s disappointing. You don’t get here often. It wasn’t meant to be. But I’m happy for her.”

The mother of two children under the age of 6, Port is a high school teacher and field hockey coach, and recent winner of her state amateur, which she has now won five times. She won the Mid-Amateur title in 1995, 1996 and 2000 and was seeking to become the 12th women to win at least four USGA titles. She lost her third round match a year ago.

“Whatever happens, I’ve done great,” said Hartwiger before her final match. “I was a bit shaky in my qualifying rounds, but I have been playing better with each day.”

She saved her best for last.

The Women’s Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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