Amber Marsh, 34, of Greensboro, N.C., won five of last seven holes with pars to overtake Shannon Ogg, 26, of Charlotte, N.C., in the 18-hole championship final match and win the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title, 3 and 2.
Ogg, who was playing in her second Women’s Mid-Amateur, won four of the first seven holes, building a 3-hole advantage. But, her win on the seventh hole was her last.
“I had all the chances in the world out there, said Ogg, an insurance agent. “My putter kind of failed me. I had five putts under 10 feet on the back nine and I didn’t make one of them. You have to make those putts if you want to win.”
In contrast, Marsh came on strong to go one step further than her older sister, Page, 40, who lost in the final of the 1989 and 1990 Women’s Mid-Amateurs.
“I caught up with her (Page) finally, but if she had a month to work on her game, she’d probably beat me,” said the new champion. “But I’d give her a better match.”
A newlywed of two months, Marsh said she was playing the best golf of her life.
“This is a dream come true, said Marsh, who is a volunteer assistant to her sister, who is head women’s golf coach at N.C. State . “I’ve never been in the finals of a national event. I’ve accomplished everything.”
Marsh’s best USGA finish before this was a run to the quarterfinals of the 1998 Women’s Mid-Amateur. Two other times, she lost to her older sister in the early rounds of match play. She was playing in her ninth Women’s Mid-Amateur. She also had a short career as a professional, with her one win coming at the 1994 Women’s Carolinas Championship, where she beat Long Cove member Karen Ferree in a playoff.
Marsh advanced to the final match by beating Sally Krueger of San Francisco, Calif., 2 and 1, and two-time champion Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., 4 and 3, in her quarterfinal and semifinal matches respectively.
“To play at a high level like this; how much more fun can you have?” asked Ogg. “I had a good feeling all week. I was really excited about the opportunity.”
Ogg’s career highlight before this week was winning the North Carolina Women’s Amateur in 2001. She was runner-up in 2002.
Marsh won the third hole with a par to go 1-up, but lost the next four holes to fall 3 holes behind. In that stretch Ogg made a winning birdie on the 5 th hole and Marsh made three losing bogeys on holes four, six and seven. She trimmed the lead to 2-up with a winning par on the par 3 eighth.
“I had my little putting problems on the front side,” said Marsh .
Marsh won holes 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15 with pars before closing out the match by halving the 16 th with pars. The turning point of the match came on the par 3 13 th where Ogg’s 130-yard tee shot landed in the marsh just short of the green. She chipped out but made bogey, giving Marsh, who made par, her first lead of the day.
“I thought that 8-iron was going in the hole,” said Ogg in disbelief. “That was a big hole in the match. I’d hit that same club again.”
Ogg reached the final by defeating Toni Wiesner of Ft. Worth, Texas, 1 up, and then Corey Weworski of Carlsbad, Calif., 2 up.
The Championship is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association. This one is for women age 25 and older.