U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Five Things to Watch on Day 4 November 13, 2017 | Houston, Texas By Ron Driscoll, USGA

Mina Hardin, the 2010 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur champion, faces Women's Mid-Am veteran Dawn Woodard in the Round of 32. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

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Two rounds of stroke play and one round of match play have trimmed 100 players from the field in the 31st U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, which started on Saturday with 132 competitors. Here are some themes to follow on Tuesday as two rounds of matches over Champions Golf Club’s Cypress Creek Course will whittle the survivors to the final eight:

Familiar foes: As the championship continues, it is inevitable that friends will square off. A pair of Florida teammates from the final two USGA Women’s State Team Championships – four-time Women’s Mid-Am champion Meghan Stasi and Tara Joy-Connelly – will square off at 7:48 a.m. CST. At 8:15 a.m., two more players who certainly know each other will be on the first tee. Mina Hardin (23) and Dawn Woodard (16) have combined to compete in 39 Women’s Mid-Ams. At 9:36 a.m., 2009 champion Martha Leach, who is playing in her record 29th Women’s Mid-Am, goes against Caryn Wilson, a veteran of 19 USGA championships. Look for more of the same familiarity during the Round of 16 on Tuesday afternoon.

Familiar foes, redux: Although many of the players have been competing against one another for decades, few had any knowledge of the Cypress Creek Course at Champions, which last hosted a USGA event in 1998 (the Women’s Mid-Amateur). Six players in this week’s field competed in that championship 19 years ago, and four of them are among the final 32 players left standing. Those four players, with 1998 finish in parentheses, are Hardin (Round of 32), Mary Jane Hiestand (Round of 64), Kathy Kurata (Round of 64) and Leach (semifinalist). Hiestand and Kurata have already improved on their finish from nearly two decades ago.

Close calls: The Round of 64 featured a wide swath of scores from stroke play, as 18 shots (142-160) separated the three medalists from the eight competitors who played off for the final five spots after 36 holes. However, that range of scores did not translate to the match-play bracket on Monday, as 20 of the 32 matches went to at least the 17th hole, and 11 of those went to the 18th hole or beyond. Is Champions proving to be a great equalizer?

Predictable outcomes?: Despite the competitive nature of the Round of 64, the top eight seeds all advanced, continuing a championship trend. With co-medalist and No. 2 seed Marissa Mar’s victory on Monday afternoon, the medalist or co-medalists in this championship are now 37-3 in the Round of 64 since the championship began in 1987. The last medalist to lose an opening-round match was Kerry Postillion in 1997.

Mettle is tested: Seven USGA champions started the week at Champions, and after stroke play and the Round of 64, six of those seven are still competing. Lauren Greenlief (2015), Leach (2009), Julia Potter (2013, 2016) and Stasi (2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012) all won the Women’s Mid-Amateur, while Hardin (2010) and Judith Kyrinis (2017) have claimed the Senior Women’s Amateur. Only Corey Weworski, the 2004 Women’s Mid-Am champion, is out, losing in the Round of 64 to Mallory Hetzel on Monday.

Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.

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