U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Tuesday at U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur: 5 Things to Know October 8, 2018 | Vero Beach, Fla. By Scott Lipsky, USGA

Cindy McConnell won her first match in a USGA championship since 1987 on Monday. Can the good vibes continue? (USGA/Fred Vuich)

U.S. Senior Women's Amateur

Match play is officially underway at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, and it will continue at a fast and furious pace on Tuesday. The field is down to 32 players, and by day’s end, eight quarterfinalists will have been identified. Here are five things to look for as the action unfolds.

McConnell Back to Her Winning Ways in Match Play: Monday was a nostalgic day for Cindy McConnell, 58, of Malibu, Calif. Her Round-of-64 opponent was Akemi Nakata Khaiat, of Japan, whom she also faced 35 years ago when the two were budding stars competing for the UCLA women’s golf team and a team of elite players from Japan, respectively. McConnell also won her match, which may have also brought her back to the days of original Nintendo and analog phones. The last time McConnell won a match in a USGA championship was in 1987, when she won the inaugural U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title at Southern Hills Country Club, as Cindy Scholefield. With the winning vibes back, could that carry the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur rookie on a deep run in this experienced field?

Second Not Good Enough: McConnell’s opponent in the 1987 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur final was Pat Cornett, 64, of Mill Valley, Calif. Cornett has yet to capture a USGA championship title. The 2012 USA Curtis Cup Team captain faces another player in the Round of 32 who knows what it’s like to come so close and leave empty-handed in Mary Jane Hiestand, 59, of Naples, Fla., who was runner-up in the 2017 Women’s Mid-Amateur. The winner of that match on Tuesday morning may have to quickly turn around and face another USGA championship runner-up in Pamela Kuong, 57, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., who lost in the Senior Women’s Amateur championship match in 2015. Kuong faces Kathy Kurata, 58, of Pasadena, Calif., in the Round of 32. If one of these three players will finally achieve their goal of being dubbed a USGA champion this week, two of them will be heading home two days earlier than they would like.

A Battle of Champions: Judith Kyrinis, 54, of Canada, narrowly escaped an early exit on Monday, outlasting Andrea Kraus, 58, of Baltimore, Md., in their Round-of-64 match in 22 holes. Kyrinis, the reigning U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion is being rewarded with a matchup against Terri Frohnmayer, 62, of Salem, Ore., who won the title in 2011. Both proved their mettle in navigating the gauntlet of six matches in four days.

Will We See More Drama on Tuesday? With swirling wind and water ready to gobble up approach shots that miss right, the par-5 18th hole challenged the field of 132 players during stroke play, ranking as the third-most difficult hole at Orchid Island. That wasn’t something most of the remaining players had to deal with on Monday. Of the 32 matches during the Round of 64, all but eight of them ended before the 18th hole, and exactly half of the matches, 16, lasted 16 holes or fewer. With two rounds of match play slated for Tuesday, much of the field is well rested as a result, and it will be interesting to see if more matches come down to the wire.

Can Their Dominance Continue? Among the matches that ended early on Monday, several established big margins early and went on to commanding victories, one of which entered the record books. Leigh Klasse’s 8-and-7 win on Monday over Kim Eaton matched the largest margin of victory in a U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur match, and wins by Patricia Ehrhart (7 and 5), Terrill Samuel (7 and 5) and Helene Chartrand (6 and 5) weren’t far behind. Countrywomen Samuel and Chartrand, of Canada, play each other in the Round of 32 on Tuesday morning, so at least one of them won’t be able to duplicate what they did on Monday. Ehrhart, 53, of Honolulu, Hawaii, won big with a steady diet of pars, while Klasse, 59, of Fort Lee, Va., was 4 under over her first seven holes with the usual match-play concessions. As the field shrinks, it will be interesting to see how easy it will be for players to separate themselves from their opponents.

Scott Lipsky is the senior manager of content for the USGA. Email him at slipsky@usga.org.

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