U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Round of 32: Five Matches to Keep an Eye on
September 13, 2016 | Erie, Pa.
By Scott Lipsky, USGA
Dawn Woodard vs. Courtney McKim, 9 a.m. EDT: Courtney McKim is 26 and looking to establish herself as an annual force in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. She needs to look no further than her Round-of-32 opponent to find a model of consistency in the championship. Woodard, 42, is competing in her 15th Women’s Mid-Amateur, is a three-time stroke-play medalist, and has reached the quarterfinals twice. She hasn’t advanced that far since 2009, however, and the Round of 32 has proven to be the Greenville, S.C., resident’s biggest stumbling block, as she has fallen in this round four times since 2010. McKim, of Raleigh, N.C., fell in the Round of 64 to 2013 champion Julia Potter in her Women’s Mid-Amateur debut last year.
Eleana Collins vs. Amanda Jacobs, 9:10 a.m. EDT: There have been three consecutive U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions under the age of 30, and one of these two could continue that trend. Jacobs, 28, has reached the Round of 32 in each of the last two Women’s Mid-Ams, and took 2014 champion and eventual runner-up Margaret Shirley-Starosto to the final hole last year. An All-Western Athletic Conference honoree for the University of Idaho, the Portland, Ore., native won the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s Women’s Mid-Amateur in July. She also claimed that title in 2014, and won the Washington State Golf Association’s Women’s Mid-Amateur in 2015.
This is the first time Collins, 26, has made match play in a USGA championship in four tries, but she looked poised during her 6-and-4 victory over Stacy Camara on Monday. Collins never trailed, and closed out the match by winning the last three holes, putting an exclamation point on things with an eagle on the par-5 14th.
Paige McCullough vs. Martha Leach, 9:40 a.m. EDT: A classic matchup between an up-and-comer and a veteran champion who has proven she can still be a factor. McCullough, 30, of Minneapolis, Minn., made a run to the Women’s Mid-Amateur quarterfinals in 2015 at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, La., before falling to Christina Proteau in 20 holes. Competing in the championship for the third time, the former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher trailed early against Deborah Munoz on Monday, but took the lead on the fifth hole and never looked back.
Leach, 54, is the 2009 Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and was the runner-up in 2011. The Hebron, Ky., resident is showing little sign of slowing down against younger competition; she reached the Round of 16 last year and led for the entirety of her 3-and-2 victory over Samantha Perrotta on Monday.
Katie Miller vs. Kristyl Sunderman, 9:50 a.m. EDT: A rematch from the Round of 64 in 2015. Last year at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, La., Miller, of Jeannette, Pa., won the first hole but didn’t lead again in the match. Sunderman, of McDonough, Ga., won four of the next five holes to take control of the match and prevailed, 3 and 2. Sunderman, 43, recently named the head women’s golf coach at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, has been competing in USGA championships since she first made match play in the 1988 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Miller, 31, shares similar experiences, having also competed in a Girls’ Junior, and advanced to the quarterfinals in each of the first two U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championships.
Ann Miles vs. Christina Proteau, 10 a.m. EDT: Miles, 27, is making an impressive USGA championship debut at The Kahkwa Club. She fell one stroke short of sharing stroke-play medalist honors with Shannon Johnson and Julia Potter, then defeated Brenda Corrie Kuehn, a two-time USA Curtis Cup Team member and a 1995 finalist in this championship, in the Round of 64. The Dublin, Ohio, native faces another stern test on Tuesday morning in Canada’s Proteau. The 33-year-old has advanced as far as the quarterfinals in three of the last four years, and made a semifinal run in 2015. She had an impressive performance on Monday, defeating Kay Daniel in the Round of 64, 6 and 5.
Scott Lipsky is the manager of websites and digital platforms for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.